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Now, Go Make a Mess

One of the scariest parts of writing is getting started. Even getting to the place where your butt is in the chair, and the paper and pen are in front of you can be tough.

Many people say they aren’t writing because they don’t have enough time, but I’ve found that it’s typically for a different reason: the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect.

If I’m not writing, I know it’s because there is a subconscious voice saying nasty little things to me like:

Why even bother? You know it will be junk.
Who do you think you are, Hemingway?
You don’t have anything to say.
You don’t have any stories to tell.
Why don’t you wait until you’re old enough to write your memoirs,

Do any of these lines sound familiar to you? The truth is, we all have time to write. If we can binge-watch Netflix on the regular, we can sit down to write or create for at least 10 minutes a day.

The problem is, we stop ourselves because we’re so freaking scared that it won’t be perfect. We’re scared to write, because writing means facing ourselves. Writing is one of the ultimate ways to be alone with yourself, and it’s some scary stuff.

But, there is a way to break through the fear.

Every time you feel yourself resisiting writing, or you tell yourself “I just don’t have enough time today” (and then proceed to watch Gilmore Girls reruns for the zillionth time), remind yourself that it does not have to be perfect. Make a mess. Let go and let it be crazy. 

All you have to do is show up, set the timer, and write just a little bit. It can be anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be brilliant.

You are exercising your writing muscles, and that is the most important part. The beauty of writing is that you can always, always, go back and edit. So why not let it be messy?

Activity: Write for 10 minutes today without judging what happens on the page. Even if it feels crazy, be open to what happens. You never know when a new idea, an original image, or a great new character will show up. 


Email me at barbaravaranka@gmail.com

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