Communication, Emotional Health, Faith, Grace, Gratitude, Persistence, Positive Thinking, Practice, Simplicity, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Work, Writing

Fake it ’til you make it…

Not only is rain predicted for Monday, but the weather gurus say we’ll actually have below normal temperatures for a few days. I’m so ready. The oppressive heat has worn me down: physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. I normally strive to be positive in my writing. There’s enough negativity and complaining in the world. I’ll be the first to tell you how blessed and grateful I am, but it’s become increasingly difficult to write over the last couple of weeks. I keep visualizing the old “Drug-Free America’ commercial with the eggs in the frying pan – “this is your brain on drugs”. I haven’t partaken of any mood-altering substances, but my brain is definitely fried…

When I was a young person living in Denver, we used to have these unbelievably strong winds that blew down off the Rockies and across the front range every Spring. They were such a force that Denver named its then minor league baseball team, the Zephyrs, after them. I recall a story about the effects of continual strong wind on people and the resulting depression. I guess our heat wave has the same results, for me at least. Perhaps there’s a government grant to conduct multimillion dollar research on my hypothesis…

I’m a firm believer in the old saying, “fake it, ‘til you make it”. I don’t want to be a fake person. God knows I’ve been there. Sometimes I just need to act as if it’s okay until it is. I guess this is one of those times. I must do the right thing, whatever it may be, whether I want to or not, until everything is okay (or the heat wave breaks).

My friend Edgar always tells me that ‘I can’t think my way into right acting, but I can act my way into right thinking’. I used to have that backwards and it didn’t work out so well. No matter how many positive thinking books I read or speakers I listened to, I never became a regular ‘Norman Vincent Peale’ kind of guy. It wasn’t until I changed my actions that my thought processes, and likewise, my attitude, began to change.

One of the blogs I follow asked the question, “What does it take to be a good writer?”. ‘Timing is everything’, as that was the same question I was asking myself on the porch this morning. I’ve thought about it a lot over the last couple of weeks. Work has been slow, and I’ve been frustrated. I question myself constantly.

When I started my blog, it followed my return to writing professionally as a copywriter. As with anything one seeks to perform well in, whether it be sports or the arts, one needs to practice. “Practice makes perfect”, as my Dad would say. The only way to practice is to, as the Nike ad says, “Just do it”. My blog seemed like a good way to develop the proper muscles to excel in my chosen craft…

That being said… I’m often filled with self-doubt as to my writing abilities, especially professionally. Although I have extensive experience in ‘business’ writing, I still question if I can create anything worthwhile for my clients. However, I generally ignore the committee inside my head and produce good work (and on time I might add).

In many ways this blog, which helps me immensely to grow on a personal level, has probably been professional suicide. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less willing to deny who I am and the experiences that made me who I am today. Honesty has its drawbacks in the work arena, even though the life experience of someone ‘saved’ by grace is of immeasurable value. That, however, is another story…

I remember my freshman English professor telling a story about Ernest Hemingway (and that’s about all I remember…) and writer’s block. He was asked what he does when that happens. His reply was, “I tell the truth”. I don’t claim to have any corner on “the” truth, but I know what’s true for me. I can’t be something I’m not. Like my father used to say, “If it walks like a duck…”

So, the answer to the question, “What makes a good writer?” is one of honesty and practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s personally or professionally. Writing and honesty both take practice and sometimes practice is hard work.  I need to push through the periods of constant rewrites, frustration, and self-doubt that inevitably come around, whatever the reason. I don’t know if others will think of me as a ‘good’ writer, but I pray they’ll at least deem me honest, despite my shortcomings.

I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I trust I’ll get better with practice. Practice I will. One of my favorite suggestions is from Jack Kerouac’s, On the Road. He says something like, “you have to write with the energy of a Benzedrine addict”. I can get with that. I’ll leave the substances to others better fit to handle them and keep on writing…

 

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