My task was twofold:
1. To work with the insanely talented life coach, Sarah Sherwood, on her book. (as her writing coach)
2. To work on my own book.
This was a true experiment. I was eager to see if leaving my usual environs would actually influence my writing. I mean, is it the daily demands of client work and home life that curb my craft? Or is it something much more sinister? Like, I’m not really supposed to write a book or that I don’t have it in me or simply that I’m not writing the right book yet.
Working with Sarah was delightful. Let me tell you how much easier it is to work on someone else’s book, then your own: magnitudinally (made that word up, feel free to borrow it). Looking at Sarah’s book, my vision was 20/20. Huh, it all seemed so easy – this goes here, that goes there, boom – it’s perfect. And so, I found myself singing, ‘Waking up in Vegas’, to her in my mind. I mean, seriously, Shut up and put your money where your mouth is. Which is a much nicer way of saying, shit or get off the pot. And I’ve never been one to mince words.
Not to mention the fact that I was really singing it to myself. She was my beard.
You’re wondering about my book. So am I. When I got to the island, I started writing madly – having been composing in my head for days waiting for this moment of unfettered time. And then, in a typical moment of distraction, longing for escape from my productivity, I realized my internet connection would not work. Everyone else in the house was tapped in, but my computer stuck its virtual tongue out at me. I whinged for a few hours, and then I found total bliss – meaning that I surrendered. And for the first time in 3 1/2 years, I actually unplugged. Cold Turkey.
- I did not surf the net.
- I did not procrastinate.
- I couldn’t send email (‘sides via my Blackberry which is beyond ungratifying)
- I couldn’t skype fluidly.
Before long, I had no idea where my Blackberry was for hours at a time. Something that used to make me quiver with fear and now made me giddy and relieved.
The result was a settling into my body and a presence with myself and those around me that I’d forgotten was possible. The other result was that after that first day, I became entirely disinterested in my fiction, and more hyper-focused on my reality. To me, this means blog posts, this means the documentation and analysis of my life. And this sort of writing – what I’m doing right now, as luck would have it – is what rolls out of mind and onto the page so effortlessly.
I realized that the fiction feels forced. Always has, truth be told. Maybe that first burst feels ecstatic, but then it always drops away, and I feel like a little kid playing dress up in clothes that are far too fancy and uncomfortable for me. I can’t breathe, move or grow in them. More than that, I no longer feel real, genuine, authentic. I no longer feel like myself.
I realize now, upon re-entry, that I can escape my usual environs and that it will help me write – but I can never escape myself and my life – and that’s what I really want to write about.
Image credit: Brymo