Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10: Writing

It's Day 2 of the Reverb 10 project and I'm still doing it. I deserve a cookie.

December 2: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?

(DISCLAIMER: I fully intended to write about why this question is bullshit and ended up answering the stupid fucking thing. Touche, Reverb 10 team. You sneaky little ninjas.)

I'm looking at this prompt from two different perspectives. If the question is asking, "What do you do that doesn't contribute to your story", then my answer is EVERYTHING contributes to the story, and nothing should be eliminated.

HOWEVER, I didn't take the prompt that way at first. I've taken it to be asking what it is we do that keeps us from physically writing each day. You might take it differently. I'm just making that clear up front because it's important to have context before reading my overly dramatic rant that follows.


It seems like most of the participants of Reverb 10 aren't happy with this prompt.

And I'm one of them.

I think that my first problem with it is that it assumes that we're all writers or want to be writers. It excludes those who want to participate as a means to reflect on their year, but don't want to write on a regular basis.

Another reason I don't really like this prompt is that it's obvious. Whether we're going to admit it or not, we all know the answer.

It's us.

WE get in our own way.

WE make excuses.

And, of course, that doesn't "contribute".

We do that for EVERYTHING we want or need to do. We don't do things (whether it be writing or exercising or learning to play the ukulele) because WE come up with reasons to avoid shit.

And even if you blame it on lack of time or lack of money (ukuleles ain't free) or too much Facebook or TV, the only thing really holding you back is YOU.

So even of you take the "writing" part out of the prompt, and add something else that you should or could be doing that you don't, you're still left with the same obvious answer.

And you know what? That's ok. I don't want to write if I'm not burning with the desire to actually do it. And truth be told, I don't want to read your stuff if you were only writing it because you HAD to.

If you have the luxury of not having to do something everyday unless you really want to, enjoy it. Don't make yourself feel like shit for not doing it.

(Unless the thing holding you back is something like fear or a lack of confidence. I encourage you to try and figure that out, especially if it's holding you back from something really important, like doing the things you care about or taking risks.)

(At least that's what my therapist mom keeps telling me.)

So maybe some people hated this prompt because they don't want to admit that they are the reason they don't write everyday, but I don't like it because there's no variety in the answers.

Like I said, the answer is obvious.

PS: I don't expect to like every prompt. That's fine and I still love the project. BUT, rather than just answer the prompt and not express my feelings about it, or ignore it all together and just post a blurry picture of my dog holding a cereal box in her mouth (aka: my first draft), I decided to answer honestly. I'm not meaning to offend anyone or be disrespectful.

PPS: If you wrote a post today saying that you're the thing standing in the way of your writing or you're the only thing holding you back - in other words: the "obvious" answer - thank you for your honesty. I'm not trying to downplay your answer at all. The answer is obvious because it's universal, and there's nothing wrong with that. The thing I have an issue with is the actual question, not your answer.

PPPS: Does this prompt make anybody else NEVER WANT TO WRITE AGAIN? I don't understand what's happened. I should have just put that stupid picture of the dog up...

PPPPS: I just saw tomorrow's prompt. I like it a lot. My emotions and opinions are impossible to keep up with.