Words and Photos by Rebecca T. Dickinson
Sometimes I need to retreat or go back to basics. Self-confidence fails at the keyboard. Words do not come or they are dry, plain and unimportant.
I go to my kitchen. Pull out a pan and chop up the vegetables, or I get the Crisco and butter. Some days I have to make a pie from scratch. My grandmother would say, “Why go through so much work? You can buy the shell from the store.” Sometimes I need to know I can rely on my own two hands.
In the late 1990s, a band called Jars of Clay released its self-entitled album. At least I think it was late ’90s. Maybe early 2000s. During the ancient days when many kids—like me—went to the store and bought CDs, I found an album I played to the point it scratched and skipped. The band’s song See the Art in Me was not released as a single.
“You plead to everyone see the art in me.”
The song tells about the relationship between an individual and God, but I think many writers feel this way in relation to their art. There are days when we feel like laying down the pen. We want to turn off the computer. We are connected globally on so many devices. Everything within us shuts down from the outside world until we—like the most stubborn computer—are ready to reboot.
We might look outside, whether it is online or literally outside, and see a beautiful piece. I have thought I can’t do better than that. Confidence fails me a second time.
On those days, I try not to over analyze what is wrong with my writing; did I do this; or did I forget to do that in a cover letter? The worries are like the caterpillars on the leaves. They can eat through the confidence.
Writing produces ups and downs, because the fact is a lot of great talent exists in the world. One of the blogs I enjoy so much, Rewriting Life, put up a post that has made me smile.
Whether we write to blog, for a job, creative publication or for ourselves; sometimes pressure builds up in ourselves. We know we have deadlines or commitments. We want time to clear our heads and let the story flow out on the page. That can be the greatest challenge.
And sometimes if we look below the surface, we’ll figure out a big idea and turn it into something. I urge you to just write. It does not matter if you have a deadline or you’re writing a scene in which you’re stumped, write it out. You never know what you might find.