|See, Jane Austen took breaks... from Jane Austen info page|
|Lots of cafe time for Simone & Jean Paul here|
But here's something that may surprise you, if you've been to my house: when the house is a mess, I don't feel like writing. (If you know me, I know you have to be thinking "she must never feel like writing!") More to the point, I don't feel like I should be writing. I feel like I should be cleaning. But I know that cleaning doesn't make me a writer, because we've just learned, apparently, only writing makes me a writer.
In fact, to a person, every single creative professional to offer advice about things such as writing and creating and making art, insists that one must actually show up, work hard and then work hard some more if the art is going to happen. But first, even the productive writers have to get some things out of the way, like washing and grooming. Many of them even mention getting kids off to school. So Currey's book and all of those other providers of details about how to get your butt in the chair, so to speak, have been helpful to me. This is because, in every case, the writers reveal that they do a couple of things, like brushing their teeth and getting caffeinated and even getting the kids to school, but it is all in the service of getting to their work. No one mentioned housework. No one mentioned cooking. They give themselves permission to ignore those daily tasks and get to work. Isabelle Allende put it well:
The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.
And even though I don't really need to cite anyone else, I have to mention that Cheryl Strayed, writing as Sugar, the sensible dispenser of sensibility at The Rumpus, gave this simple advice at the end of a long answer to a young writer who wanted help getting out of her own way so she could write: "Write like a motherf@#!er." Now, despite years as an enthusiastic participant and proponent of both parts of that colorful compound epithet, I've never really embraced the word for personal use. But here, it makes sense to me. When I think about what that means for me, I know it's about sitting down and writing, even when I feel I should be doing something else. So that's what I'm going to try to do. For those of you who come to my house in the next few months, don't mind the motherf@#!ing mess-- take it as a sign that I am taking myself seriously as a writer.