Liminal Luminous

a wandering, wondering space of devotion, creativity and freedom.

If I just had the right…

I’ve decided on my focus, well I say decided, but utterly committed to is the correct term…writing.

I’ve blithered away about how much I want to do it in my journals for years, I have half arsed written stuff for years. Now I am committing. You’ll have noticed I’ve increased blogging here, and aside from periods of self doubt I am pretty much managing to post each week day.

For ages I’ve been dithering away because I didn’t have the RIGHT way to manage everything – all of my notes, where I write my scratchings, where I hold my ideas, what notebook is THE right notebook to do it. What is the right way to store everything so I can find it?

I’ve just finished reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird – her book on how to write. I love her writing style and I have wanted this book for ages and ages, but I didn’t get it because it was only in paperback, no ebook available. I realise this is a stupid mindset, but there you go. Now I have read it I feel so much better about my writing. Because she doesn’t really have a system, she uses index cards to capture ideas – doesn’t file them mind you, they just seem to waft about her house or her handbag and writes on legal pads.

I looked at my carefully managed Filofax of ideas (I really do like things to be organised) and my especially selected (expensive) notebooks for writing up my notes from books, and realised this was exactly what my friend Tania was talking about when she said I cling onto everything with a death grip. Maybe I am stifling my creativity by a) filing everything so neatly and cutting down on serendipitous findings, b) smothering my work c) spending a huge amount of energy in finding THE RIGHT solution for it.

I had just ordered a £3 notepad for my writing, it’s Rhodia paper, which is gorgeous to write on and takes all sorts of pens and ink. Perfect. I’ve realised I also quite like writing in pencil, but I’m too harsh for click through pens – I break the lead far too quickly, but I have to keep sharpening a pencil and it annoys me. Then I remembered Blackwing Pencils, which have a cult like status amongst writers, and the price tag to match- £30 for 12 pencils! And you can’t even buy them singly to find out if you like them first, plus you need a special pencil sharpener for £30 oh and don’t forget the special ‘point protector’ (WTAF!) for another £10. That’s £70 on pencils!!! After searching around online for about an hour I realised I was wasting time and energy on trying to get things perfect, when actually that time could be better spent actually, you know, DOING THE WRITING.

She also explains the crazy nature and life of a writer. HaH! I already have a crazy nature and I do love words, language, reading and communicating – I have everything I need!

So this morning, I summoned the imperfect, somewhat crazy energy of Anne and sat down and sharpened 4 standard pencils that I found lying about the house, grabbed the £3 notebook and sat and wrote for an hour. When the pencil got too blunt I picked up the next. Repeat until all were blunt and then took 3 minutes to sharpen them all with my £1.50 pencil sharpener from WHSmiths.

Now, do I write up all my ideas and thoughts onto index cards, or do I leave my filofax as it is and crack on with new ideas on random index cards and then not categorise them, as I did last time I tried to work with index cards? Leave them in a messy heap on my desk, maybe get a pretty container to corral them into as I suspect Anne Lamott does not have to contend with a spaniel who will try to steal and then destroy them….? I think the main thing is to not worry about the tools and just to get on and do the writing. Now, that’s a radical thought.

3 Comment

  1. Well done! Stepping out of the habits that are holding you back and dancing into the doing. It is no small feat. The wabi sabi-ness of life: Impermanent, incomplete, imperfect!

  2. Tools are important – I hand write first drafts of books. The notebook must be right, I need to feel comfortable with it – often they are cheap, but sometimes it takes me weeks to find one. I’ve found pens that suit me – also essential because the right pen reduces hand pain considerably. I’ve still not got the perfect location, but I keep looking! and making the best of what I do have in the meantime.

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