As I’ve mentioned before, I was a baton twirler back in the day and on occasion, I still get asked to teach a camp or a private lesson or two. It’s funny because I get a little nervous, worried that I might be out of practice. And then, I discover again how much I love it even if it is hard work sometimes. Writing is like that.
You know that expression, “Dance like nobody is watching”? That was totally me. I made up countless routines that were pretty awesome in my mind as I twirled to my heart’s content to whatever was on the radio. I mean, they play the same songs over and over anyhow. And if the video had a pretty cool dance, well I was all over it. With a baton in my hand of course. I loved choreographing just in case anyone in charge asked me for what should go next in our group routines. It rarely happened, but when it did, I felt this swell of pride whenever we performed. But most of those routines I made up in our garage? No one ever saw. Like scattered pieces of someone’s first draft.
Yesterday it hit me. I think, know, and now feel why my writing fresh stuff has stalled. I’m out of practice. I keep thinking the perfect version has to happen the moment I sit to write. I’ve forgotten to give myself permission to go with the flow and write whatever comes to mind. So what if it sucks? I have plenty of time to revise it. I’m pretty sure that my first dance twirl version of Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” was a lot worse that what I choreographed for my sister, two twirling friends, and myself to perform at contests. Oh, and “What A Feeling” by Irene Cara? Who knows how many transformations that one went through. But I think the true testament is that routine I fell back on time and time again, “Ease On Down the Road.” I’d improvised to that song so many times that when it was time to actually do something for real with it, I knew which parts were keepers and which could be ditched for something better. Just like revisions.
So today, I’m going to bust out of my rut, slap on some inspirational and cheesy 80’s music, and write whatever crap comes to mind. As long as I tell myself that no one may ever see it, I can get tons of words down, maybe even a whole story. A story filled with passive writing, cliches, and plot holes. There’s plenty of time later to revise and edit. Oh, to write like nobody’s reading…What a feeling!