“No great deed is done by falterers who ask for certainty” (George Eliot)
Note to self. Please read the above quote. Memorize it if you must.
Because there is no certainty. You must keep going if you want to accomplish something, if you want to paint or write or make a difference in the world.
And Note to anyone reading this. Writers? Painters? Please take this advice to heart.
I hope that today you will write your way through whatever barrier seems to be in your way. I hope that even if you feel blank or empty or uninspired, that you will keep working anyway. And if you do falter, find a way to get up and start again. Work despite the uncertainty. And if time has passed and you haven’t been writing and you feel lost or disconnected go back and pick up the pieces even if they are scattered and tattered. Start again.
That is what I am doing- starting again, picking up the threads- though I have no idea where the story I am writing wants to go. It has changed so many times and now and I am visited almost constantly by my ever-present self doubt.
But even though my head is filled with negative fearful thoughts that tell me that I should quit– that my story is probably rubbish- and the structure is flimsy, and the plot is weak–I have to continue on. I can not falter. Knowing that I don’t like what I have written means I am still searching for what I want to say and that is as it should be. That’s what writing is. There is no certainty. I am going to say it again.
I can fix a flimsy structure. I can work on a weak plot. These are just the tasks of writing. They are not evidence of lack of talent or imagination or intelligence. Writing takes determination and intent and practice.
The only remedy is to encourage myself to keep going. Because there is no certainty. Everyday is just another step down a path up a hill and into the woods of the story. Keep going. Do not falter. And if you are stuck don’t focus on being stuck which will fill you with fearful thoughts–focus on getting unstuck. Ask yourself questions about your characters and their objectives and the obstacles in their path to dig you out of the stuck place. . Ask questions about the relationships in the story. But most importantly keep writing.