Fighting the Writing Monsters

By July 5, 2010 culture, faith, language No Comments

High Calling Blogs Book Club Selection

This past Friday (July 2) was the 183rd day of 2010.

What’s so special about that day? Well, it marks the halfway point of the year, with 182 days behind us and 182 days to go.

Lots of things have happened in the first half, but what hasn’t happened is the development of a writing project that has been burning in my heart and mind since December.

The current High Calling Blogs Book Club selection has encouraged me to put aside whatever fears, insecurities, and procrastinations I might have and get to it. All these blocks have been pondered, considered, and acknowledged. I’ve brought them out of the shadows, dissipating much of their power.

As the book club itself nears its end, I want to walk away from it with some change, some growth, some better approach to getting the ideas in my heart and mind out onto the page.

With almost half a year left, there should be plenty of time to implement what author Julia Cameron has been teaching through her book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. This week’s reading deflated another one of those intimidating shadows by flipping on the light switch of practicality. This monster rises up in the dark unknown of a new project, when the writer is unsure how to take an overarching idea and turn blank pages into a manuscript of several hundred. Cameron battles this beast with practical advice:

We do not need the courage to write a whole novel. We need the courage only to write on the novel today. We do not need the courage to finish and publish a novel all in one fell swoop. All we need is the courage to do the next right thing. Today’s pages may yield tomorrow’s editing job and next month’s design job, but just for today all we need to do is write.1

Her words remind me of the procrastination adage about eating elephants or frogs—such unpleasant and overwhelming jobs get done one bite at a time. Although the work before me is rather pleasant as compared to the adage example, there is fear and trembling when faced with breaking down an idea into manageable bites.

My hope is to tackle a bit of this writing project each week. It’s exciting to think of what could come if I don’t procrastinate and if I keep my eyes on being faithful to the writing that’s been gifted to me. Manuscripts are simply chapters filled with pages, pages filled with paragraphs, paragraphs filled with sentences, and sentences filled with words. And I love words, so this should be great fun.

Here’s to the second half of 2010 and all the words it holds for me.


Join the HCB Book Club. Read other The Right to Write posts from this week here.

1. Julia Cameron, The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life (New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, 1998), 191.

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