Reverb 10: Fritter.

On the last day of November, I signed up to participate in #reverb10, a month-long challenge to blog every day of December based on prompts provided here. Here’s hoping it keeps me honest.

Today’s prompt:
December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing, and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

How do I put this?

Everything I do takes away from my writing.
All my life’s tiny, interstitial moments add up to a pretty substantial chunk of time — hours and hours that I seem to choose to waste on other things.
Things that are safe.
Things that offer instant gratification.

I watch my Twitter stream refresh, two or three posts a second, sailing across my screen.
I check my bank balance, half convinced some mysterious benefactor will have deposited a large sum of money since my last visit.

I rearrange my apartment. It’s happened three times in as many months.

I zone out listening to NPR, even though I can’t discern actual news half the time, beyond the Charlie Brown whomp-whomp-whomp of soothing radio voices, over the roar of my furnace.

I clean: fold clothes, wash dishes, consider dusting but never actually do. This place is so small that it’s a disaster the second a stray sock finds its way to the floor. (I’m staring right now at a tote bag and a not-so-recent Staples purchase that have fallen from their rightful place in a bin next to my desk, and that third of my apartment now looks like a bomb dropped.)

I stare off into space, looking out the window at the grey sky over the grey concrete patio, tugging at the dry skin on my lips until they’re so raw I have to force myself up to fetch my lip balm across the room.

I’ll even go out and run before I’ll sit down to write.

Because I fear writing.
And often, that fear is paralyzing.
Writing exhausts me, saps me creatively for the day. Or longer.
Sometimes I’ll sink two hours into writing a post without even realizing the time has passed. It’s easy to spend 15 minutes stuck on one sentence, typing and deleting words until I find the supposedly perfect expression of some half-thought.

I’m a tough first read, my own harshest editor.
I rarely publish a post without thinking, “Well, there goes another 800 words of shit out into the ether.”
Or something to that effect. Self deprecation rarely puts such a fine point on things.

Among my fears, expressed as simply (and rationally) as possible:

  • Will anyone read it?
  • Is there some grievous error I haven’t spotted?
  • Will there be angry backlash? (Ahem.)
  • Will I stare at my e-mail all day without receiving a single comment?
  • Is this little blog post taking away words and ideas from the book I’ll eventually write?

Fear doesn’t hold me back from much.
But somehow, it often holds me back from doing what I love most in the world.
That time I could be crafting a sentence with the potential to unlock pages of thought, or at least fleshing out some flash of inspiration that strikes me at an odd hour?

I fritter it away.

I can’t eliminate these little things I do to keep myself from writing. It’s not that they don’t need to be done…eventually.

But if I gathered up all the time I waste in the course of a day, I’d have plenty of time to get those 800 words of shit out into the ether every day.

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14 Responses to “Reverb 10: Fritter.”

  1. The Annoyed Army Wife Says:

    Such an honest and true post; I’m scared to put everything out there, too. Then I realize I write for myself above all others and if I’m already thinking it I should just write it down. And I know all too well about the writing time warp. Often times I finish a post then flip out realizing I spent 45 minutes of my day tapping out a paragraph.

  2. abbey Says:

    I do the same thing when I blog. Especially the looking for grievous errors. Although I’ve yet to cause an angry back lash from my 2 readers. Lol.

  3. Tweets that mention Reverb 10: Fritter. -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt Cheuvront, Paige Worthy. Paige Worthy said: BLOGGED: Hey, two days in a row! My #reverb10 post for Dec. 2: http://bit.ly/hFa0fO […]

  4. Monica Says:

    I LOVED your message about fear holding us back from doing what we love. In fact I loved it so much, I quoted you in my blog post today:) So nice to “meet” you through #reverb10 !

  5. Alison Says:

    Ah Paige. Sometimes I think we share part of the same brain. Right there with you sister. Thanks for the honesty – now I need to stop procrastinating and write a blog post.

  6. Brooke Farmer Says:

    It’s funny but I don’t do any of that with respect to my blog. My blog is an outlet for me and a way to keep me writing something (almost) every day. And it is fast becoming a little community I turn to for support or honest advice. It is me standing naked in front of everyone and not worrying about my flaws. It is also a complete and utter distraction from my half finished novel. That is the place I can stare at one sentence for half an hour trying to make it just right and always feeling it is flawed.

  7. Matt Cheuvront Says:

    Your writing is far from shit, this much I know. But, even if it is shit, it’s your shit, and as long as you enjoy writing it, who gives a damn if anyone else thinks it’s shit, right?

    That probably made no sense…

  8. Gabriel Says:

    This post made me consider proofreading/editing my own work. Briefly.

    Believe me, you’re only improving the ether.

  9. sara Says:

    Loved this post. Because as made obvious by the comments you’re not alone in this feeling. But, I agree with the others who say that your blog is for YOU. It’s YOUR outlet. So you should post what you want, when you want. Free of worry about what others will think.

    Keep on writing freely!

  10. ScottO Says:

    Not that I count for an awful lot, but please know that I read every post you write. Some more carefully than others. From the comments above, it appears you have a number of faithful readers. So that’s covered.

    And if we’ve learned anything from other blogs, it’s that you can always include whole pieces of your blog in your (eventual) book. So that’s covered.

    And finally, as Gabriel said so succinctly (and Matt so colorfully), your writing is much better than at least 95% of the blogs out there. Statistically, you’re bringing the average up!

  11. Katrina Says:

    Writing is scary. It is. there’s no denying that. I’m petrified of it. Sometimes, I can’t even open Word because I am afraid it will eat me.

    Slay the Jabberwocky, Alice.

  12. Food Bites: Lyman restaurant featured in escape Says:

    […] Reverb 10: Fritter. […]

  13. Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net Says:

    oh, yes, I fritter my time away as well… you’re in good company

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