You may have heard me quote my friend, novelist and memoirist Judy Goldman, when she talks about the most important question a writer can ask him or herself. It’s simple. “Did I write today?” Not how many pages, or how many words, Judy goes on to say, but just ask if you did it.
Well, I’m asking that questions every day. And just like eating whole foods and reading what’s going to make my writing better, I have to wake up with that goal firmly planted in my psyche, and I have to do my best to achieve it each day, even if some days I fail. Otherwise my muse will go find somebody else who doesn’t mind sitting at her keyboard typing or scribbling on her legal pad toward inspiration and eloquence.
Recently I’ve been listening to subliminal CD’s on things like making healthy choices and overcoming procrastination. I love things like this, and it’s a great substitute for Ritalin. One of my favorite CD’s is Slim Forever—for Women. The sultry voice calls to me to feed the inner thinner me with what nurtures health and beauty. And I respond, believe it or not, by choosing a clementine over a Milky Way or an Oreo.
Well, I’ve found a picture of the inner thinner me who I’ve covered up over the years, and I’m letting her not only choose fruit over candy, but I’m letting her read good books and write on a daily basis. You might say she’s coming out of hiding to finish my novel, and probably revise some poems and short stories that are in a holding pattern. Why? Because I’ve decided she doesn’t have issues like ADD, and she doesn’t get her priorities out of whack. and she’s not afraid of much of anything. I really like her. I want to help her. And it’s easy to set aside the stuff that clutters our life to help someone else. But the truth is, she’s good at putting first things first. Did she write today? Oh yeah.
Here’s a picture of her watching me to make sure I let it happen. She looks pretty determined, don’t you think?
Maybe I’ve got a ways to go before you recognize her in me, but I know who she is, and what’s more important, she knows who I am. Now I remember why I loved playing with Barbie when I was a little girl. And it’s the inner child in all of us who writes. It’s always the child who’s honest. And by the way, did you know that there’s a Rocket Scientist Barbie? Hell yes, there is.
Here’s a scene storm word list from another book I’ve read this month, Waking, the latest collection of poems by Ron Rash. If you don’t know what a scene storm is, you can look back at older posts, or you can just think “writing prompt,” and you’ll do fine. Feel that lean muscle as your fingers type out something that surprises you.