Tag: Writing Life

Nobody Cares If You Don’t Write

A vintage typewriter on a wooden table
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

I weight train twice a week, Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings. As I was lacing my shoes this morning, about to leave the gym, an old lady on her way in remarked, “Are you done already?” in a tone of surprise. It was 8:15 am. The gym opens at 7:30 am, and I was there on the dot. “All done! I’m here as soon as the gym opens and get it over with.”, I replied cheerfully. Not because I have this iron willpower or am the poster girl of self-discipline. In fact, I’m the exact opposite. But I’ve learned the hard way that I lose as soon as I start debating whether to train or not. So you see, one way of manifesting my creativity is coming up with better and better excuses for why I couldn’t train that day.

To cut a long story short, I found that the best way to deal with my penchant for making up excuses was to just do it. Just do it. Schedule the time in my calendar, have the gym clothes and the bag ready by the door, then be out of the house in minutes once the alarm clock rings. Not questioning the form of the day, not debating pros and cons, not making up an excuse. Just do it.

The crazy thing is that I love it once I’m at the gym! 45 minutes fly by, and I head home, feeling relaxed and not a little virtuous. It’s just the beginning that is hard, getting over the initial resistance.

Very similar to writing, I mused as I was heading home after another training session, gone from reluctance to exhilaration in minutes. I love having written. But starting to write? Pure hell.

A vintage typewriter, a notebook, a clock on a wooden desk
Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Be Your Own Boss

You have to be your own slave master and be willing to hold the whip yourself if you want to write. Nobody is going to do that for you. Unlike a job where you have a manager to push you, writing demands to be your own boss. Nobody will set your deadlines and goals, monitor your progress, or demand status reports. You’re on your own.

If your dream is to write and you don’t write, nothing happens. Apart from the soul-wrenching fact you haven’t written, that is. And guess what? If you don’t hold yourself accountable and push yourself, if you don’t force yourself to stick to your routines and do the work, if you don’t write, in other words – nobody will care. NOBODY WILL CARE. It’s your dream, not other people’s. At best, they might feel sorry for you if you failed to produce the science-fiction novel of your dreams that you talked so much about. But that’s it, a few fleeting seconds and “I’m sorry it didn’t work, mate!”. Then they move on with their lives, leaving you with your unfinished novel and the bitter taste of failure in your mouth.

How do you move the needle? How do you push through that initial resistance, that apparently insurmountable mountain blocking your path? How do you start writing even when you don’t want to?

Writing with a fountain pen
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The Power of Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is what takes you from dreaming to fulfilling your dream. Self-discipline is doing what you must do to reach your goals, even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to do it. Have you noticed how tempting house cleaning, for instance, is when you have to do something you don’t want to do? Arranging your drawers is suddenly a delight, not a chore. Sorting your books by color seems the best use of your time. Your mind, the traitor, gets creative and comes up with lots of other things you could do instead of writing.

And this is your chance when those treacherous ideas start to form. Nip them in the bud immediately. Don’t let that thought be fully formed or that idea take root in your mind because you’ve lost if they do. Push back directly. No is a powerful word; use it!

“No, I can’t wash the windows now; it’s my writing time.”
” No, I can’t arrange my socks now; it’s my writing time.”
“No! No distractions! It’s my writing time.”

Don’t negotiate or allow any discussions. Instead, decide that you’ll follow your plan for that day and do what you had planned to do, which was to write. Just do it. As simple as that. I didn’t say it was easy.

Coffee mug and notebook on a low table in front of a fireplace
Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Make It Easier to Get Started

Can you make it easier?

Well, as a matter of fact, I can.

I prepare for writing as I prepare for my training, making it quick and easy to get started. This means setting the alarm in the evening, laying out the breakfast things in the kitchen, and making my workspace ready for a new writing session at the end of a writing session.

Workspace readiness is different for different people, as it should be. For my part, it involves tidying up my desk, removing coffee cups and cat hairs (if you have pets, you know what I mean), putting back papers and pens in their holders, and refilling the water bottle.

(Yes, the water won’t be super fresh the next morning, but you have no idea how treacherous filling a bottle can be! This is how it goes: I’ll walk to my desk, fully intending to write, then realize that I need water. I go to the kitchen and start filling the bottle, gazing through the window all the while. Then a deer runs past, or a squirrel jumps on the low stone wall or the sparrow hawk flies by. My curiosity picked, I leave the bottle on the counter and stand by the window to see what would happen next. That doe is usually not alone; her two fawns must be following shortly. That red squirrel is so cute; I can watch her shenanigans all day. Would the sparrow hawk just fly by or go for one of the small birds in the bushes? And so it goes, the monkey mind jumping from one thought to another. Half an hour has gone by before I’m back at my desk. Hence, I fill the bottle the night before. One source of distraction eliminated.)

When I sit at my desk in the morning, it’s a pleasure to see a well-organized workplace with everything I need in its place (including the water bottle). It’s easy then just to sit down and start working.

Getting started is still daunting, but I’ve found that stopping for the day when things go well works wonders. This way, I can start right away next time as I know exactly what to do. I don’t lose any time staring into space, paralyzed by the blank page. The start is already there, and the only thing I need to do is continue where I left it the day before. And once I’ve started, it’s easy to keep going.

A slice of cake
Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

And Maybe a Carrot?

I also like to use carrots, small rewards I give myself if I follow the plan. A small piece of chocolate, watching squirrels, going for a walk, creating a composite squirrel photo, or maybe buying a new book on a tough day. (You have no idea how many bad days I have!). Anything pleasurable, anything that I can look forward to, a carrot dangling in front of me to take me through the challenging moments, a motivator helping me stay focused when I’m struggling.

Besides, there’s a bonus: positive reinforcement. Every time I reward myself for having written, I teach that monkey brain that writing is a pleasurable thing, something I enjoy. Writing is joy, not anxiety. That will make associating writing with positive feelings rather than apprehension easier. In time, it becomes a habit. Wake up, have breakfast, sit down, and write. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat some more. Don’t overthink it; just do it. Wonderful things will happen to those who wait write every day, inspired or not.

Vintage fountain pen on a piece of written paper
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash


Self-discipline is essential when it comes to writing. It is the ability to stay focused and committed to your goals, even when it’s hard. Remember the three things: make it easy to get started, say no and just do it, and reward yourself along the way.

You can’t change the past but you can still shape your future. So become your own boss and coach. Make choices today that will make your future better. If you sit down and write every day, even for a few minutes, in time, you’ll have a significant amount of writing done. A page a day means 365 pages at the end of the year and a lot of practice learning the craft.

In the long term, the reward of self-discipline is fulfillment. The opposite is regret. Nobody but you will care if your dream quietly dies on the way.

The pain of self-discipline will never be as great as the pain of regret.

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Why Do I Write?

Why do I write? How could I not? I write so I know that I exist. Brief as my moment in this world may be, it’s mine and mine alone; all mine to cherish and to honor. All mine to examine, make sense of, and preserve in the amber drop of memory.

Water seller in Marrakesh, Morocco
Water Seller, Jeema el Fna, Marrakech (Morocco)

I write to remember the honey light in Marrakech on a late afternoon in March, the blue of the sky vibrating with the muezzin calls and the racket of the sparrows playing in the palm trees in the Majorelle Garden. The gorgeous backdrop of the Atlas Mountains and the aroma of the spices in the souk. The rich hot black coffee in the tiny café on a side street off Jemâa el-Fna Square. The toothless smile of the old water seller under the colorful hat embellished with bright orange fringes. I remember he had a bushy mustache and an air of resigned patience on his heavily lined face as tourists snapped their photos. At least he’s getting paid, I thought.

I write to remember Delhi and the heavy scent of burning incense that hit me while the plane was landing, the beaming faces greeting me in the terminal, friends I hadn’t met yet. Delirious and unfamiliar Delhi, my senses assaulted by its cacophony of novel sounds, colors, and smells; the reddish-brown cow nibbling on a sapling at the side of the road, another moving placidly in the chaotic traffic. Horn, please! said the stickers on the bumper, explaining part of the racket. The delicious food at a vegetarian restaurant I found wandering by myself in the glowing twilight. 

Indian women wearing colorful saris
Image by Suffix on Pixabay

And everywhere you looked, people. People walking in line along the dusty roads, carrying bundles of vegetables or a collection of empty plastic water bottles; bales of cotton in all the rainbow’s colors; armloads of marigolds, their leaves strikingly green against the deep orange of the petals. People riding bicycles or rickshaws, carrying saddlebags, floor sacks, suitcases, packets tied with brown hemp strings, and age-worn backpacks. People drinking tea on the side of the road, gossiping and watching the traffic. Grinning people dressed in flowing white robes. Dark-eyed women with red dots on their foreheads and wide-eyed toddlers clutching tightly at their bright orange, green or yellow saris.

A gray fox statue s at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto, Japan.
A fox statue at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto, Japan

I write to remember Kyoto’s old streets, lined with tiny wooden houses clinging to the low hills, miniature flowerpots and plastic water bottles aligned like soldiers at the gates; the gray stone foxes at the Fushimi Inari shrine, messengers of Inari, the Shinto god of rice, red neckerchiefs fluttering in the cool wind around their necks; the fiercely red-orange of the torii gates matching the foxes’ kerchiefs.

Two kangaroos on a field, Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island, South Australia

I write to remember the dusty red tracks on Kangaroo Island, lined with giant eucalyptus trees; the incongruous rough calls of the fluffy koalas at dusk, mixed with the hubbub of the parakeets and galahs; the boxing kangaroos at sunset, their darkening silhouettes visible against the fiery sky; and the soft leathery sounds made by the flying foxes in the dark.

But faraway places aren’t the only stops of my memory train. There’s a democracy in my head; everybody can climb on board. Five-star resorts and exotic islands; dusty tracks and fly-ridden donkeys; water-sellers and university professors; squirrels and the Queen of England; the first time I rode a bicycle; the summer I injured my knee; the downpour in the mountains that almost washed our tent away; the vanilla and coffee ice-cream I so enjoyed on summer afternoons; the surgery I had in 2014. It’s all there in the attic in a jumble that only writing can bring order to.

A red squirrel in the snow holding a hazelnut in its mouth
Red squirrel

I write to freeze in time the moment I saw my name on the list of people admitted to the university, standing on my toes in a crowded room.

I write because otherwise, nobody else will know about Fluffy, the one-eyed red squirrel raiding the bird feeders in my backyard, her remaining huge alien eye glittering with mischief. 

I write because the world has a right to know that Terry, the male squirrel with the dark fluffy coat, does not like peanuts. He prefers sunflower seeds.

This is why I write. How could I not?

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Faith and the Art of Writing

Seashells heart

I do not know whether I shall make progress; but I should prefer to lack success rather than to lack faith. Once again, Seneca hits the nail on its head. My writing mornings have become more and more torture sessions after the almost euphoric beginning. I write and write, one sentence after another, and I write almost anything, no matter how bad or irrelevant to the topic, just to record something in the log and say, See, I’ve written that much today. But do I believe in what I’m writing? Not anymore. I’m losing faith, and that’s about the worst. In survival situations, mental strength is the difference between who dies and who lives; in writing, between who finishes a book and who doesn’t.

I finish the daily quota and go for a walk, unsatisfied by the day’s production. A jumble of words, a bright spark here and there … how can all this become a book? How could I think I could write? But isn’t every author saying that you have to write, no matter how bad, in order to learn how to write? You’ll suck at first, they say, and you’ll continue sucking for a while; you have to make your peace with that. But with every word scribbled down in anguish, with every sentence excavated from the depths of your creative mine, with every doubt encountered but dismissed on the way – you learn. 

That is, you learn if you have faith and keep at it long enough to notice your progress. That’s the difference between those who finish a book and those who don’t. Learning how to write means learning how to live with inadequacy and doubt and how to keep going despite your mind screaming in protest. “What’s the use?” that traitor would say, “You call that writing? You’re lucky your life doesn’t depend on it.” You hear it scream, yet you continue, you endure it and write another sentence, and another one, and another one.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”; Picasso’s words comfort me. Have faith and keep going. Never stop working; never lose faith. You’ll make it.

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How to Write Anything

An abstract photo of the sea
Fire in the Sea © Mihaela Limberea 2021

“I don’t know what to write about.”

“Of course you do. You must know something.”

“I know nothing.”

OK. Let’s see.

I know my name and the name of the street I live on. And of this tiny island I call home.

I know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. I’ve seen it. It’s real.

I know the blackbirds are early risers and catch the worms indeed.

I know a jay can scoop and carry away twenty peanuts in one go.

I know the sounds of the trees when the wind catches in their long arms.

“See, you do know something. What else do you know?”

How quickly rabbits and squirrels demolish my Halloween pumpkins. (Very).

What finches and blackbirds love to eat (hemp seeds and apples).

The funny way the squirrels or the woodpeckers chase each other around the old oak in my back yard.

The way the cat twitches her whiskers in her sleep, chasing squirrels and sparrows and growling softly.

The blare of the emergency broadcast testing on Mondays at 3 pm, always on schedule, always unexpected.

“That can’t be all. Surely there’s more.”

Resistance is futile.”

“Very funny.”

“Very well. A writer’s life is lonely.”

“Would you want it any other way?”

“Of course not.”

“Go on.”

Writing is a curse and a blessing.

It’s hard to start and even harder to stop.

All first drafts are atrocious. Awful. Lousy. Get used to it.

Words form slowly on the paper, and when they do, they don’t sound as good as they did in your head. So get used to this, too.

It’s most likely that your writing will be misunderstood, but that’s OK. Once you send something out into the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. So let it be and move on.

Other people’s work is always better, you think. Don’t. What others do is not your business. Your business is to write.

Know that there’s plentiful in the world to keep you from writing: airing the mattresses; checking if there’s milk in the fridge and potatoes in the pantry; looking up what a baby porcupine is called (a porcupette – you’re welcome!); and a myriad other needs that arise suddenly the moment you sit down to write.

Resist the urge to rush to the bedroom or the pantry. Instead, write down the porcupine question for later. If need be, tie yourself to the chair like a modern Odysseus, but keep your butt on the chair. This is called the BIC technique by the people in the know.

“What’s BIC?”

“Butt in the chair.”

“Oh, I see.”

Talent is good, but self-discipline is better. 

If you want to be a writer, write. Don’t talk about writing; write.

The self-appointed inner critic is a jerk; ditch him. 

Doubt is the writer’s constant companion, as is fear, perfectionism, and other delights you’ll discover on your own. It’s normal; you’re not alone.

Write, write, write. Then write some more. It’s the only way to stay sane; that, and some strenuous walking every day—bonus points for wandering in the woods. (Look up Japanese forest bathing after you’ve done your writing for the day).

Having high expectations of your work is the surest way of failing. So do your best and call it good enough.

Does a little perfectionist live inside you? Lock him up and throw away the key. Always striving to become better is good; never being satisfied with anything you do is bad. Nothing is ever purr-fect but a cat.

“What did I tell you? It’s hard to start but even harder to stop.”

“What can I say? You were right.”

“I always am. I have to go now, though; the mattresses need airing this very moment, I’m afraid.”

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TMIS or The Too Many Ideas Syndrome

Remember when I was talking about my temptation to abandon my non-fiction book and start writing a different kind of book? Guess what? It happened again! No surprise there. It felt so good (it always does!), I almost started jotting down the first pages. Then reality set in, and I have, in fact, looked up that blog post just to remind myself that ideas are a dime a dozen

Most (non-writing) people think that writers need ideas for new books, but getting new ideas is seldom a problem. Quite the opposite, in fact. Enter TMIS, i.e., Too Many Ideas Syndrome. You have more ideas that you could possibly be working on. So beware: TMIS sounds like a luxury problem, but it can be paralyzing or make you jump from project to project, never finishing anything.

I have a pretty long list of things I’d like to write about, and – as you can see here – every now and then, I even convince myself that it may be worth abandoning whatever I was working on to pursue that shiny new thing.

However, this time I was ready and stayed the course. I followed my own advice (something I should do more often, I always think) and archived that shiny thing in the slush file. With a sigh and some heartache but I did it. If nothing else, I hope it’ll make me finish this book as soon as possible; then, I can start working on the new one. Win-win!

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Writing Is a Job

Writing is a job-text on the background of a notebook.

Writing a book sounds romantic, gazing over the roofs of Paris in a chilly attic room, slowly sipping hot black coffee. Fluttering curtains in the golden sunset. Sometimes it can even be that. 

But writing is, above all, a job. It’s work and routine. Toil and exhaustion. 

You have to go to work like everybody else and do the time on the chair. It means having a set time and place – be it a home office, a café, or the kitchen table. So you put on your working clothes, sit down at the set time, and start writing. No exceptions, no excuses, just doing. Every day.

Sometimes the words will flow, pouring of you so quickly you can hardly keep up typing, the pages filling effortlessly. You’re a gift to the world. Working is easy and pleasurable, and you can keep at it for hours.

Other times, you stare at the blank page and can hardly resist the urge to run. You write a few words, decide they’re lousy, and delete them. You start again. How could you ever think you could write?

Time drags on. Lunch cannot come soon enough. Or any interruption, really. You’re almost glad if something breaks. Then, suddenly, you’re happy calling the plumber or the electrician for an emergency repair. Or grateful if the delivery man seems to have time for a chat. Anything to avoid looking at that blank page, the blinking cursor a silent countdown to an inexorable deadline.

But you keep at it, how uncomfortable you may be. You’ve learned discipline. You’ve learned that if you sit there long enough, something will happen. An idea, even a kernel of an idea, will appear, seemingly out of thin air. An image that triggers long-gone memories. Scenes from a distant past or a shimmering future. And you’re in again. In the zone where fantastic things happen and writing is easy.

If you’re not able to write, write about not being able to write. For a writer, everything is writing material. Even not being able to write.

Like this text.

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Writing Is an Exercise in Humility

An Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) Photograph by Mihaela Limberea, in tones of green, lavender and orange
Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)* photograph of one of my flowers beds.

One thing anybody could tell you about me is my patience. Or lack of it. It’s a paradox, really. While I can be still for hours when stalking birds to take photos, for instance, most of the time, I have no patience. None. I’m the kid who ate the marshmallow immediately (and went looking for another one in the corridor; no nice waiting for me!).

Gardening has been a lesson in humility for me. It simply takes time for plants to grow, and a fully grown garden takes several years. Even then, it does take time for flowers to bloom or for butterflies to appear in the spring. By creating and tending a garden, you learn patience along the way.

After creating my first garden in Sweden, tending to another in Switzerland, and then creating a new one when back in Sweden again, I thought I’d mastered patience. 

Ha! So easily fooled we are! Especially by ourselves. 

Writing a book takes a lot of patience. Sitting at your desk day after day after day, toiling away a page at a time, with no end in sight. 

One day you think you’ve made good progress; you only have to keep going, and you’ll get there. The next day, nothing works. You write 500 words and delete 400. You start doubting yourself. Do you really have what it takes? Patience and perseverance to sit there every day and build a cathedral by yourself, one brick at a time? To compare the wondrous vision of the building in your head and the lone low wall in front of you that you managed to erect so far?

Someone said that the only thing you need to write is a good chair. That’s a good point. You’ll need a good chair because you’re going to spend a lot of time in it. Sometimes writing, more often staring in space or scouring the internet for the best slug repellent (true story!).

I killed off all distractions on my computer, turned off e-mail and notifications, deleted games, and so on. Closed all programs, except for Scrivener (going off-road now, I know, but if you need anything to write, in addition to the said chair, you’d also need Scrivener, believe me! the best writing software, ever). And the internet browser. 

It’s a risk, I know. An internet connection while writing it’s an open invitation, a free-for-all buffet of distractions. 

I decided to take the risk. Looking up synonyms or the name of a bird I can’t bring to mind is worth it. Worse case, I’ll know more about the mating rituals of penguins or find the best slug repellent (I tend to be practical in my distractions; wasting time, yes, but at least I’ve got something for it).

So, I sit on the chair and stare at the Scrivener binder. Every morning. I try not to think about the number of days required to write a whole book. I try to have faith that if I show up every day, do the work, do the best I can, I’ll produce a book in the end. And maybe learn some patience on the way.

Writing is an exercise in humility. Day after day after day. Brick after brick after brick.

If you’ll excuse me, I have more bricks to lay now. Rome hasn’t been built in one day, and so on. Ta!

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Dreams Are Involuntary Fiction

Close up of a skyscraper in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
Close up of a skyscraper in Tokyo, Japan.

Last night I dreamt of … Bear with me, please. I know, reading about someone’s dreams is as exciting as watching your computer progressing through system updates—even well-written ones. 

I guess it has to do with their purely fictional character. We know they’re made up. Fiction pretends to be real, and we call it out when it’s not working. We’re willing to listen to the tale that is disguised as true, but not to the dream we know is not.

Dreams are second hand, involuntary fiction.

So, I had a dream. I won’t bother you with the details. But being through a scary experience (being lost in a city I didn’t know, walking very determined to nowhere), I did what all writers do: wrote about it in the dream. I had, apparently, decided that I could at least get a story out of that scare. Never let a good crisis go to waste, and all that.

And when I woke up, I wrote about the dream. As any writer would do. 

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What Should I Write About?

Close up of a vintage style typewriter with the paper in it saying "Chapter I".

Every morning it’s the same. I’m ready to start writing, and I’m just paralyzed by the white page in front of me. What should I write about? How should I start? 

I read about writers who stop working for the day when the writing is going well, in the middle of a paragraph, and I never understood it. I felt compelled to finish whatever I was working on, wrapping the day’s work nicely, put a bow on it. I couldn’t leave anything unfinished. 

But lately, it dawned on me that leaving the work when I knew what I was going to write was the perfect way of ensuring I would get started in the morning – because I knew exactly how to continue. And in writing, the hardest part is to begin, at least for me.

The problem is me, of course. I don’t always follow my own advice. This is why I’m back at “What should I write? How should I start?”.

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Being an Artist Is an Act of Daring

Withered grass in the snow. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
“Is this good enough for my portfolio? Should I try taking more photos tomorrow?”

Being an artist is an act of daring. Daring to bare your soul to the world.  A creative person does his work at home and keeps it at home, away from critical eyes. An artist sends it out in the world for all to see, to enjoy it, and criticize it. This is what separates amateurs from professionals.

You know all those modern art pieces you sneered at, saying, “I could do that!”, “I could do that better!”. Well, why didn’t you? Why don’t you? 

Maybe you could. But that artist didn’t stop at talking about her art, how she was going to create this great piece, how innovative it was. She didn’t dream about creating that beautiful artwork while waiting to have more time or take another course. She acted on it. Intention and follow through. That’s why they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions and roofed with lost opportunities.” 

Good intentions and great plans will get you nowhere very fast. You get an excellent idea and think, “I have something here. This would be a perfect start for a novel.”. And so, you toy with the idea, dream about writing that novel, maybe even find it a catchy title. You can see the cover, with “a splendid debut”-blurb splashed over it. You write the opening lines.

The morning the first undead burst into the city, Mats woke up in a dilapidated garage, his head pulsing with the mother of all headaches. A dog stared at him, tail wagging furiously back and forth. Where the hell was he? What was he doing in this, this…place? With a terrier? If it was a terrier, Mats didn’t know much about dogs and, frankly, didn’t care. Of course, had he known about the undead, his view of things may have been slightly different.

The new genre-renewing zombie novel! And you will write it! As soon as you’ve finished that new book about writing horror, and you have a little more time to think about the plot. Days, weeks, and months go by, and you’re still re-working the first paragraph, slowly turning into Joseph Grand in the process. 

A field of ice. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
Field of Ice. Good enough?

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. (C. S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters).

A true artist dares to send out her imperfect creation in the world. She wasn’t ready to; no artist ever is. But at some point, she’s made her peace with the work. It’s not as brilliant as she can see it in her mind’s eye, but she accepts that this is the best she can do right now. 

There’ll be criticism; there always is, of course. While nobody is ever ready for it, she moves on; she releases her soul’s child to the cold eyes of critics. Her work is done.

Creative people keep their creations close; anguished, they protect them. Artists release them to fend for themselves.

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