There have been days when I felt like I could not even
write out a grocery shopping list.
Inspired this week by Anne Lamott. One a quote. And one a book chapter.
First the chapter from her work Bird by Bird. For writers looking for tips, strategies, and excuse busters from a writing pro, check out this book. I’ve read it a few times and refer to it often.
We’ve all heard of writer’s block. The so-called wall that keeps us from getting anything on the paper. You sit at the keyboard or with pen in hand…and…nothing comes. Or say you tell yourself. You beat yourself up. Or worse, you quit the project.
Writer’s block can come due to exhaustion, perfectionism, lack of discipline, fear, or insecurity. It might be due to the belief that meaningful words should magically flow from your mind to your fingertips. If they don’t, then, you reason, you must be flawed and need to put away your quill for good.
Lamott writes about awful first drafts and the need—the importance—to get something on paper despite how pathetic it may look and sound to you. I have found this a sound strategy with my most-recent project. With the exception of my last book, I have written textbooks for students or facilitation books for professional and community development. Now I have moved (wandered?) into a writing arena that requires a much different skill set.
There have been days when I felt like I could not even write out a grocery shopping list. Nothing flows. The easy thing to do? Quit. Lamott reminds us that “almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”
In other words, don’t let the voice in your ear deter you. Keep moving. Get something down. And then revise. And learn. And continue. If you don’t, that great novel, song, poem, community initiative, or home renovation plan may never take hold. Ever. Lost for fear.
And that brings me to the Lamott quote:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”
Video Recommendations for the Week
A short video clip where Lamott speaks to the need to be consistent and push through.
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.
Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.
In the meantime, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
- Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.
You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®