08 July

Affix Horse Blinders - STOP Other Writer Gawking...


The last thing a new or struggling writer needs is another reason not to write, and I find such writers spending quite a bit of their time looking around at other writers and their works, and not down at their own page.

They interact with their brain thus, "How come I didn't think to write that story? How come they are doing so well, and I'm not? Why did they finish umpteen thousand words yesterday and I didn't even open my laptop? How come that writer is relaxed, laughing with her colleagues, and I can't even manage a smile?"

And on, and on, and on.......

In a horse race, the horses wear blinders —larger pieces of tack — that prevent the horse seeing to the rear or the side and being distracted by the other competitors, ensuring top focus and therefore top speed. If the horse spent his time gazing at the other horses alongside him, his attention would wander and his speed would greatly diminish.

Accept that as a writer in a field crammed with other writers, you're that horse.

All you need to look at is your own mind's eye for the story conjuring and your fingers pounding down those storied words.

The only time you should come up for air and rejoin the literary world is when your writing session is done for the day. You've in effect run your own race, covered the proverbial track, and laid down the acceptable number of hoof prints in your mighty path moving forward.

To run this daily solo race, you need to shut the world off. 

  • STOP gawking at others. 
  • STOP looking at what they're doing, or not doing. 
  • STOP analyzing their work and start creating works of your own.

You are you. You are the One and Only you. You aren't them, and they sure as heck will never be you. Neither can you copy what they do in life, and neither can they copy you. Your way with words, your brain process of ingesting experiences and weaving them into a tale, cannot be replicated by a single other human being. So where's the panic about the competition??? There shouldn't be any.

Your art starts and ends with you. You literally have zero need, zero impetus, to stretch your neck out to view others and their works in progress.

I'm not saying don't be encouraging of others. Absolutely, when the writing day is done, confab with colleagues and vent your writing experiences and celebrate the successes along the way, but when it comes to art creation, those horse blinders had better be affixed, so you can't look around, focusing instead on your own literary path.

As an example:

I write alone, in a completely quiet house, when I'm in a session. There is no web browser, no TV, no radio, no people around me distracting my attention from my writing flow. Not until the work is done do I resurface into the noisy world, and rejoice in that noisy world. 

P.S. Even if your house is a zoo of activity, find a place where you can go that distraction is at a minimum. Everyone can find that place for a short while each day. NO excuses.

I don't waste my time wondering what the next writer is doing, for I'm not them. I realize it's a complete waste of time to mind game about The Other Writer. I will enjoy their works when I read them and marvel at the complexity and diversity of humanity, but that's as far as the outer world enters my artistic universe, simply because it physically can't, and attempting the impossible will only waste my time and help me not along my own artistic path.

If you do this — accept that your work is unique — you will drop the need to look around and ask yourself all those silly questions that will only increase your doubt and decrease your productivity. And that time saved not gawking or wondering or second-guessing can be tacked onto your writing session time!

Again, this is you, donning indestructible self-confidence as the artist you are. Back to the psychological again, peeps. No other artists can compete with what you do, so any urgency, envy, hesitancy, self-doubt simply fades away.

I'll do me.

You do you.

And after our separate words are pounded down on separate pages, lets both surface contentedly, confidently together.

HOMEWORK: What are you still doing here, reading me? Get to work! ;-)

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