Put it in a bubble and let it go…

It's funny. If you'd asked me in University or for many years after that, what kind of guy I'd end up with… i'd have said a computer geek… slightly pudgy, receding hairline, glasses, the whole stereotype. Then I met Mr. Pink. Tall, thin, hot… and a jock. Now, I'm a computer geek, a bookworm, an artsy type. There is nothing athletic about me. How Mr. Pink and I ended up falling in love, I'll never know, but I guess opposites really do attract.

The thing about Mr. Pink is everything comes down to a sports analogy. I mean EVERYTHING. What restaurant we want to eat at, how we're gonna raise our kids, how someone at work hurt my feelings… everything. And since I know nothing about sports, I tend to just nod and smile. πŸ™‚ But he said something the other day that really hit me…

 The only play that counts is the one you're playing right now.

What he means, is that you can't worry about the last play that you messed up, or the one before that, or even the one before that, because if you're worrying about the past, you're not focusing on the present, and you're doomed to keep messing up. And as he was saying this, it was like a giant light bulb went off over my head… actually, not like, I'm pretty sure one did go off, cuz Mr. Pink kept asking what was wrong because of the look on my face πŸ™‚

How much of my past am I holding on to when I write? 

Ten years ago, an evil woman wrote "Your writing is so juvenile, you couldn't even write for Harlequin" on an assignment I handed in. Now, you have to understand, that this instructor (scarily, she ran the book and magazine publishing graduate studies program) HATED Harlequin. She actually brought in Marsha Zinberg from HQ to speak to our class, and then a week later called the books they publish "junky little books" (I admit, I sat through Marsha's entire presentation waiting for the evil instructor to say something derogatory… fortunately, she didn't). But my point is, saying I couldn't even write for Harlequin was, to her, the ultimate insult. And I've never let that go. Every time I sit down to write, her voice is in my head telling me this over and over again.

And I remember all the bad… the bad marks on assignments. The boss who bitched that something I wrote was crap, even though I wrote it like the sample I was handed and told to make it look exactly like that. The idiot co-worker who was so full of himself that he rewrote my work while I was on vacation (and added in spelling and grammar mistakes)… and the boss who ended up taking me to task for my attitude for getting upset about it. Even a friend's second book that is so awesome, I know I could never write as well nags me.

And this haunts me while I write.

What I don't let in… and probably should… is the good stuff.

  1. In my grade 11 creative writing class, my short story was one of two that was picked to be published in the book featuring the best of our assignments.
  2. I was one of only ten people in my year who graduated with a BFA, specializing in Playwriting. (And the ONLY ONE who turned it into a double stream with Production, btw.)
  3. For the past seven years, "writer" has been part of every day job I've held.
  4. I was a finalist in the first writing contest I entered… and the judge (a managing editor) asked to see my stuff… and more of what I write.
  5. I've written back cover copy … for 2 Harlequin books. (take that, evil instructor πŸ˜› )

 And you know what? These successes far outweigh the bad.

So the next time I sit down to write, the only thing I'm going to let myself focus on is what I can do with this scene, in this book. And nothing else. Because what I'm working on RIGHT NOW… is the only play that counts.

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3 Comments »

  1. Nienke Said:

    You want to hear something funny? I was always praised about my writing, even in my present day job. And I STILL focus on the negative. Every time I learn a new ‘technique’ I feel I have to write my story over. I’ve been through this many times and wonder when it will be good enough. As I’ve said before, I know my story will end up being PERFECT, but it will take me till 2055 to write it.
    Your post makes me think of the song, “Accentuate the positive.” Great theory, hard to practice.

  2. Bonnie Said:

    Too true. Can we please find a way to vaporize all of those evil people? I too had an evil instructor who made me question my skills, cry in class and want to just walk away from completing my college diploma. One day I will bronze all of my work, hunt him down and beat him over the head with it.

    Gee, I feel better already. πŸ˜‰

  3. Jordan Said:

    Great block entry. You’re are absolutely right. This is the only play that counts. I know I rarely focus on the positives that I’ve received from writing. It’s much easier to latch onto the negative. I am trying to change that now. I’m also trying to change my perceptions about ‘what’ I can write. *g*


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