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Ready For My Close Up Mr DeMille

So I guess there comes a time when all things go full circle. I started this blog back in May of 2012 to discuss creative recovery and over the time it’s been around I’ve done that, talked about creativity, writers block, being yourself, getting sober, getting drunk, quitting smoking and a myriad of other tidbits that make up my life. Lately I’ve sort of lost the main thread and focus of Writing in Shadows.

I think one of the main lessons I’ve learned while writing in Writing in Shadows is that as a writer there is nothing I won’t expose so to speak. All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the fact my bloody neighbour mows his damn lawn every single day, all of it is grist for the mill. But what I don’t really feed into much is the emotion.

Recently I joined a writers workshop and quite frankly, despite thinking it was a good move it turned out to be a bit of a disaster. I wasn’t ready for the emotions in brought up. The first exercise was designed to take us back to the worse moment in our lives and write the emotion. I did that. I went to a time when I was unemployed, barely holding onto my sanity and was haunted by the man outside my townhouse, who appeared in the mist and wore my face. Given the similarities to the time I’m currently experiencing, I could have done without bringing all that back up again.

I learnt something from the writers workshop though. I don’t do emotion. I’m happy to write, and make things light hearted and funny, but I do not go anywhere near the darker emotions. I don’t want to know about it. I like life to be a sitcom, not an episode of American Horror Story. Give me Glee or Give Me Death!

Like most areas of my life, I’ve only barely committed to where I want to be or what I want to do. I talk it. I don’t walk it. I nod and smile and pretend and when no one is looking I allow fear to overwhelm me, and I write nothing. I started writing a gay romance novel. Not because it was burning to be told, but because I thought it would be fun. It was. To a point. I put a bit of it up on a forum, and started getting positive feedback. Now I’ve crumbled. I hate it. The fun is gone. The story has dried up.

This past week I did something I never thought I’d do. I stopped smoking. Yes it’s only been 5 days, and yes it’s easier to quit smoking when you have no money, but the fact remains I have stopped smoking, have no intention of buying a packet tomorrow. When I was procrastinating online yesterday afternoon I saw the following JPEG on my Facebook page. I love it. And I realised when I read it, that it was my new motto:

I often times find myself talking about what I don’t want or can’t do. It’s a self fulfilling prophesy. I talk about the negative almost blindly these days. I don’t talk about the freedom to conquer smoking or the freedom to write my novel/movie/web series whatever, I don’t talk about how I can go for a walk and get fitter and healthier. I talk only of the other side of the coin. The fact I can’t go out anymore, the lack of income, the lack of social life. I wonder why someone who has spent the better part of the last 7 years talking about the law of attraction, continues to make a fundamental mistake whenever life gets tough.

I don’t know whether I’ll ever be comfortable writing from an emotional point of view, but until I do my writing will only be a pale shadow of what it could be. I have the talent to pull off being a writer, but do I have the guts to do it. That’s where I stand at the moment.

I guess the point to all of this is, if you give yourself the option of only doing what you know you can, you’re life is going to be a pale and dull place to be. By pushing yourself to do what you fear you cannot do you not only end up surprised as hell, but with an achievement that is worth hanging your hopes on.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

3 Comments

  1. lisalday111711 says

    Oh my friend you and I are going through exactly the same thing but you gave up smoking whereas I am still just berating myself for everyone I light up and swear “this one” is the last one until I light up the next one and on and on it goes…the hating of ones self for smoking and for not writing because I am too damn scared. I literally freeze….what a curse….so first the smoking then the writing….hmmmm

    • Hi Lisa,

      It takes as long as it takes mate, there’s no point in beating yourself over the head when you light up. By doing so you just reinforce that you “can’t” do it and that you’re “failing”. Honestly I can’t recommend buying the Allen Carr book Easy Way to Stop Smoking more if I tried. I got it for my Kindle App via Amazon, that way I’ve got the book with me when I leave the house. Not that I honestly believe I’ll need it. After the last few days I truly feel free. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous, but it’s true. I thought it yesterday, when I was nauseous and dizzy, but I knew it this morning when I went to the local shopping centre and some random walked passed smoking a cigarette and I felt nothing at all. Not a desire, not a wish, not a craving. The only thing I noticed was the smell. And I can’t tell you how different that is. Usually the first time I smell a cigarette when I’m quitting it’s all I can do not to rip it out of the persons hands. I honestly believe I’m free. And it wouldn’t have happened without that book.

      • lisalday111711 says

        Well then I believe I am going to have a go at it….let me rephrase that…I will quit when I finish this last half pack I have. If they are here I will smoke them…if they are gone I cannot. I am tired of thinking about them all day every day…I am tired of feeling like shit. If I want my body to take care of me then I better start taking care of my body. I will let you know how I am doing and if I panic I may write you.
        Thanks for the inspiration
        Lisa

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