Writer's Block, Raccoons, and Life Lessons


For the past few days, I've been casting about trying to figure out what I'd write about in my next (read: this) blog post.  When I became a Neo-Futurist and had to produce roughly 3-5 new short plays a week, through trial and error I came into the following process:

  1. Have an idea. Write it down.
  2. Repeat.
  3. As the deadline draws near, visit the list of ideas.  Are any of them more easily developed?  Has having these ideas in the back of my mind resulted in my brain working them out for me on the sly?  In most cases, the answer is: yes!
  4. Pluck those more developed ideas from the list and write them.  Leave the other ideas to keep growing.
  5. Continue to add ideas to the list, repeating the process from #3 any time some writing must be produced.

I think of this as planting seeds (ideas) and seeing which ones come up first, and I do pretty much the same thing with my blog.

So. For the past few days, I've been trying to figure out which of the little growing idea-seeds I should choose to write into a full-blown post (plant) and none have been especially forthcoming.  In a move of either cowardly procrastination OR genius intuition, I turned to Paper Girl, the blog of Mary Fons.  Mary is wonderful and was a huge source of inspiration in even starting to write my own blog - she's so great and she makes it look so easy.  Anyway, I was catching up on some posts that I'd missed and I came across this one: Grace Coolidge, Raccoon Whisperer (see what I mean? even all of her titles are outstanding!).  Mary writes:

The goal for me with the ol’ PG is to never let it be about one thing. Life is not about one thing, after all.

Yes! I realized that part of what was hanging me up was wondering if the things I was thinking of writing about fell under the self-imposed umbrella of my blog: my life in the arts.  But, duh!  Very little doesn't.  Moreover, as I thought about what Mary said, I realized that the more I take that attitude with my whole life the better things go.

I used to feel like I had to unwaveringly, passionately and demonstrably dedicate myself to acting.  But, when you're trying so hard and wanting to make sure everyone can see how hard you're trying . . . well . . . let's just say that doesn't make for a great audition.  I'm no less committed to acting now, but knowing I don't have to prove it or show it and trusting that that passion is always there has brought a lot more ease to my professional endeavors - and more pleasure and success as well.

If you didn't already click over to Mary's blog, I encourage you to do so.  She's a treat!

And with my refreshed sense of permission, I look forward to sharing posts about back-to-school, children's literature, and Steven Pressfield in the coming weeks along with who knows what else - those idea seeds can be unpredictable.