Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Welcome to July 2008 - The Month of Positivism

“Writing is hard work…”

For most writers this is true. It’s no easy thing to take one small hazy idea and give it heart and soul and turn it into something beautiful and complete and satisfying. For many writers this journey is undertaken in a bubble of isolation locked away in a study or stuck in the corner of a bedroom, hunched over a keyboard, tapping madly away for one or two hours jammed in among the rest of the daily hours spent tending to spouses and children, overgrown lawns, dust bunnies, grocery shopping, broken-down cars, dental appointments, the day job that finances our writing habit, not to mention the few hours necessary for sleep…

Phew! You see, it’s not just the writing that can be hard work. Just maintaining the life of a writer, staying creative, is hard work. And while writers write because we *have* to – it’s hard-wired into our genetics – there are very few of us who do not desire to have others value our work. A request from an editor or agent is tops, but to make the finals in a competition or just to get a decent score in that competition is enough for most of us. For a published author I suppose it would be the reader who takes the time to write and tell you how much they loved your book.

Of course, because we put so much of ourselves into our creations, it often takes just the opposite - a rejection letter, a damning critique, or the shredding comments of a careless judge - to sow one tiny seed of self-doubt. Coupled with the pressures of maintaining our *other* life, this will be enough for many learner writers to stop and ask, Am I wasting my time? Is it really worth it?

Well, yes, it is. You are a writer. It’s what you do. You wouldn’t be you if you weren’t doing it. After a blue day or two (and a kilo of chocolate) most of us just pick ourselves up and continue right on tapping away at that keyboard. But the apprenticeship for a writer can be long and there will be plenty of moments of self-doubt and wavering of writer self-esteem, which is why we Bootcampers have decided to dedicate the month of July to Absolute Positivism or The Banishment of Negativity and All Self-Doubt.

As the Mistress of Positivism, it is my duty to guide the Bootcampers (and anyone else who wants to join in) through the next thirty-one days so you come out at the end all fresh and spring-cleaned, eager to face the challenges of the writing life.

To this end I will be supplying the Bootcampers with a daily inspirational quote.

Also, at least once each day, you will stand in front of a mirror and say aloud, I am a great writer. You will repeat these words three times with the emphasis on a different word each time
I *am* a great writer

I am a *great* writer

I am a great *writer*

And you will say it with heart and soul to make it an absolute truth.

Each week you will also be given a task to complete. Week one’s task –

You have seven days in which to remove every item from the top of your desk or writing space. (If you’re a bit nervous about unplugging the computer I’ll forgive you that but only that).

You will dust and clean and replace what belongs there, banishing all extraneous clutter to its rightful place. And if that’s the bin, so be it.

What does this have to do with writing and positivism? Well, I’m willing to lay out a dollar or two in claiming the last room to be cleaned in a writer’s house is the study and the last thing to be cleaned in that room is the desk. Just imagine the sense of achievement when you sit down at that clean, tidy desk; the positive feelings that will have you eager to get writing again in that tidy space. Best of all just think of all that space you have created for a whole new generation of clutter. *g*

If you have a favourite inspirational quote to share, please do. Or tell us about your writing space. If you’re taking up the challenge we’d love to know about the oldest, funniest, weirdest, or grubbiest thing you found among the clutter of your writing space.

Oh, and the rest of that quote I started with…

Writing is hard work; it's also the best job I've ever had.

Raymond E. Feist

Alison - Mistress of Positivism


Anne N said...

Adding my own favourite writing quote:

"Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."

~Gene Fowler

And thanks so much, Alison, for taking this on.


Eleni Konstantine said...

Thank you Mistress of Positivism. I think you're right - a cluttered desk seems to sap our creative energy. I have done steps 1 & 2 - that is clear of the desk and clean it. Have started step 3 - returning what belongs there. I don't want to tell you about the rest of my study, well coz I want to be POSITIVE!! :) Will check in at the end of the week.

Great quote Anne!

E :)

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