Ah the Golden Hour! In photography, it’s that magic window of time that occurs about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, where everything is in shades of gold, brilliantly lit with silhouettes who magically appear like whispers on the horizon and where dark characters are outlined by light. In writing, well…..not so much.
I find in writing,the Golden Hour is like trying to corral these three precious dogs! You’ve got your dog Inspiration, the dog that is always super excited, chomping at the bit, and raring to go. You’ve got the wandering dog, Time. She is the rascally one that always tries to get away from you, and then you’ve got Substance (sometimes who answers to the name Results) the dog that is actually your prized purebred, your show pony if you will–the one you hope will make you known.
But in the subdivision known only as Reality Bites, Inspiration always seems to get pushed out of the way by Time, the one who constantly demands you chase after her, so you’ll be forced to ignore the other two. But once in a golden sunset, Time will behave, and Inspiration will sit on your lap for a while, and when that happens, your shy, enigmatic, and often elusive dog Substance will finally make an appearance.
And for once, all is WRITE in your world.
“Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?” — Friedrick Nietzsche
“When asked, ‘How do you write?’
I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’” — Stephen King
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Agatha Christie
What would you write if you didn’t fear failure? What would you do with your life if you never gave a single second of worry to what others think about you? Who would you be if you were totally uninhibited, and felt completely free to be who you truly are?
I was watching Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium with my young son tonight after an incredibly challenging week. This one line was exactly what I needed to hear:
You’re life is an occasion; rise to it!
Sometimes we let rejection or lack of support hinder our dreams. Why? Because we’re spending more time worrying about what people think. That’s the deadly trap that stops our hopeful endeavors every time. At least it does mine.
Your dreams are fueled by hope. Without hope; dreams die. Hope and vision is something within you; it’s not found in the affirmation of those you wish to find it from.
And trust. Trusting in an unknown outcome. That’s the hardest part. We finite beings always crave knowing how the story ends. Our life. The result of that which we pursue. We race through our life faster than we read a book.
We know this truth intellectually; it’s wrapping our heart around this that hangs us up sometimes:
It really is about the journey!
So slow down. Relax. Stop trying to know what the future holds. Keep writing, or pursing your art, your dream, or that which you most truly are. When we slow ourselves enough to get into the moment, we find confirmation and affirmation: KEEP GOING.
That’s it. Just keep going. And dreaming. And doing.
Rise up. Your life is waiting!
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd”
You burden me with your questions
You’d have me tell no lies
You’re always asking what it’s all about
But don’t listen to my replies
You say to me I don’t talk enough
But when I do I’m a fool
These times I’ve spent, I’ve realized
I’m going to shoot through
And leave you
EMF – “Unbelievable”
So I’m having this WRITER’s problem. Ok, stop. Back up. That’s a bit of an oxymoron because I haven’t finished a great work yet. I’ve never been published. I dream of finishing a work of fiction. I start lots of stories. I’ve finished zero of them. Why?
I feel like Woody Allen when he said, “Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.” Here’s my problem. I start a lot of stories. I sit at the computer and have marathon typing experiences! Like a car’s tachometer, the words keep tumbling out 3000, 4000, 5000, 9000…..you’re approaching the red zone, slow down, it’s almost morning and you need some sleep. Let’s take a look-see at what we’ve got here.
And there in the problem reveals itself. While my characters were busy zigzagging around through time and relationships, somewhere along the way they dropped a few important things: Plot, dilemma, resolution. Dialogue that makes sense! The characters, the words they say, the events that happen in a short span of time, are frankly:
It reads back like a Jerry Springer episode on steroids. I confuse my own self. I start too many subplots and don’t know how in the world I’ll ever be able to tie it all together. Bing! Hit SAVE. Then file it in the FINISH LATER folder, which is only one tier above the recycle bin.
In a few hours I’ll crawl minute by minute through the day lamenting the curses and gifts of a writer’s existence, or at least a writer’s mindset.
I have quite a few published friends. I am truly happy for them. I want to join them. But I seem to start out on the journey, get sidetracked in the story, and then to complicate things further, get sidetracked by my own life, and how to utilize the few increments of time we’re given to manage each day, that rapidly accumulate into months and years. I hem. I haw. I make excuses. But the truth is this:
I don’t finish what I start.
Simple as that. No therapy required. I don’t have to look past my kitchen sink most days to see the pattern. Somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of a task, I quit. I stray. I am distracted by the least little thing. Then things stack up, everything becomes urgent, a hundred tasks have to be tended to, and then as the last small brushfire is just about put out, a crisis of epic proportions arrives, and for dessert another one arrives, maybe three.
Looks like it’s time to find a full time job because a part time job and a sporadic hobby of non-paid blogging don’t pay the bills. Quick! It’s an emergency! Go get a job yesterday already as I briefly pay attention to my inner reality check.
Guess what? Being that I don’t finish what I start, the dusty old resume never quite gets finished. Kind of like my stories. So feeling the full weight of fiscal pressure, an amazing thing happens! Inspiration.
Because Woody Allen, pessimistic sardonic genius that he is, reminds me of this simple truth:
“Because it’s much more pleasant to be obsessed over how the hero gets out of his predicament than it is over how I get out of mine.”
There you have it. Reality-avoidance issues, dreamer mentality, occasionally peppered with blinding optimism all rolled into one: me.
It’s time to write! Right now. Roll those sleeves up because it’s hammer time. Step by step is how we get to the FINISH LINE. And when we do, it’s going to feel unbelievable!
And if you’re having a bit of writer’s block today, enjoy the complimentary music link here. And jump around! Can’t hurt. Might help! Ciao!