Do’s Aren’t Enough

“What thoughts do I allow myself to think at breakfast?”

I read that recently somewhere. I thought it was in one of Steven Pressfield’s Writing Wednesdays blog posts but can’t find it now. The point the author was making was that in service of fulfilling our intentions, what we don’t do is as important as what we do. As I reread what I posted last week, I realized I have a mental list of don’ts. If I do the don’ts then I have messed with my do’s.

These are my don’ts. There are only three:

  1. Thou shalt not go online until 1PM. I allow myself to check texts and emails at breakfast and before I leave the library but only to make sure I don’t miss something time-sensitive (e.g., “Need to reschedule coffee today”). Everything else can wait. I remind myself that being a consumer can interfere with being a creator. There is a question I ask myself when it seems I’ve been sitting at my computer too long: “Are you consuming or are you creating?”
  • Thou shalt not leave the library until thou hast written 1000 words.Stephen King sets his mark at 2000 words a day but suggests 1000 words for newer writers. This one was tested last week, when I wrote a scene that was only 637 words. I started on the next scene immediately.
  • Thou shalt not place judgments upon they work whilst thou creates thy work.Judgment is essential in the revision stage but a hindrance in the creation stage. Kill your darlings but not before they’ve had a chance to be born. 

After this heaviness of don’ts, let’s go back to the wonderfully encouraging Brenda Euland: “Be careless, reckless! Be a lion, be a pirate, when you write.” That’s the title of chapter seven of her book.


Chewing the Cud of Good

Leda went down into the deep gully in the dog park last Saturday because that is where the long grass grows. If you stand at the bottom of the gully and look straight ahead, you will look at a wall of grass. The earth will hide you from the freeway. I stood there in the late afternoon and felt the warmth come off the grass. I closed my eyes and smelled the damp, tasted the faint acid of exhaust. In the mingling of the air from the warm earth and the air from the cooler sky, the light breeze that touched my face and my arms had no temperature. It was as if tiny fingers in the air caressed my skin.

Leda, running rather than eating grass

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top