A little over a month ago, I started a new section on my blog called Quotation Station. It began as a blog post of its own explaining the difference between a quote and a quotation. The idea was that I’d schedule writing-related quotations for my followers to appear on Friday morning. They were to be a friendly handshake as we parted ways for the weekend, a final communication before my family began our electronics and social media blackout for Shabbat. Everyone seems to like them so far.
Last Friday’s post included a quotation from Charles Bukowski stating “Writers are desperate people, and when they stop being desperate, they stop being writers.” This particular quote fit my writing life so well. At any given moment of the day, I have felt desperate about my writing. Desperate to complete it, desperate to come up with new things to write for my blog or a literary journal or a novel, desperate to be published, desperate, desperate, desperate. All that desperation added up to a lot of miserable living.
What struck me as interesting was that I’m not alone in this practice and belief. But it also made me question it especially since one of my repetitive prayers was for peace in my life. Desperation and peace cannot cohabitate, so which did I really want?
Further adding to my desperation was something a wise friend said to me a little over a week ago. She asked how I was, and I ended up unloading a lot of desperation on her! Thankfully, she’s not the kind of person to regret having asked. At the end of our conversation, she suggested that I write from my abundance. What does that even mean?
About a week after her suggestion, another wise friend gave me a pamphlet of Weekday Morning Prayers and the Bedtime Shema. I started reading them in the morning and evening, and what an amazing effect they’ve had on my life in just three days. My peace increased and my desperation diminished.
But wait, my desperate writer’s mind yelled, if you’re not desperate, you’re not a writer! Turned out desperation was a clingy companion. However, I was really rather tired of being desperate, and I was not at all willing to surrender the peace I’ve been praying for. Also, I could keep writing what I loved when I wanted to write it.
You’re just being lazy, my writer’s mind whispered which I instantly knew to be a lie because leading up to the conversation with both friends, things have been falling in place in my life in a wonderful way. Not to mention that the two chapters I’m somewhat blocked on in my new novel no longer freak me out. I’ll sit on them for a while and not add to the blockage by stressing my mind out with desperation. I’ll trust that in good time, the right words will come to me.
What all this boils down to for me is change. I’m not good with change especially when it’s sudden. Not that what I was experiencing was sudden, but it could have been if I hadn’t been so resistant to changing for the better as well as admitting that it was better. It’s better that I’m no longer running on the gerbil wheel of desperation for all the things I mentioned above.
So now I’ll explore the abundance in my life, and I’ll write from there. I’ve discovered an abundance of talent given as a gift from God. I’ve discovered an abundance of time which is another gift. I have an abundance of great books by authors who I admire; I’ll follow their example. I have an abundance of wise friends whose counsel I’ll seek when desperation desperately tries to re-enter my life/writing life. I have an abundance of support from my husband, William, who has supplied me with great storylines, helped me work out problems in my plot, and won’t let me stop writing when I’m in the desperation dump.
I have no doubt that desperation will attempt to raise its ugly head in my life. It’ll evolve and reappear as envy, writer’s block, or self-doubt. Fortunately, my arsenal is well stocked with abundance. And in case I forget that, please, dear friend, do not hesitate to remind me as you are part of the abundance in my life.