You are still planning the book you agreed to write for the movie director. Two days ago you sat in front of the screen, and you were riddled with anxiety.
This is nothing new, but you wonder if you will ever find the writing process easy. You wonder how anybody finds the writing process easy. For you, it’s one of the hardest things in the world. You are reminded of Hemingway: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at your typewriter and bleed.
You have a habit of scratching your head, like a chimp trying to solve a puzzle. If it’s not your head, it’s your stubbly chin. Any onlooker would think you are on the brink of some eternal truth that has thus far remained hidden. But no. You just want to know what your protagonist will do next. You just want to conjure up the next challenging circumstance that will help them grow.
Then you delete.
Then you write again, and you delete again; a process that promotes nothing but unease in your belly. A cage of butterflies.
You wonder when you will learn to fully accept that writing is a process of rewriting. Telling yourself this comforts you. Nobody writes out a story in one go, like a hen laying a chicken, and not an egg.
A writer has to be willing to sit on a story until it hatches and grows feathers.
You wonder if the anxiety would subside if you didn’t drink coffee in the morning. Yesterday you shared a coffee with your wife, and later, when you sat down to write, you went through two large flasks of green tea.
And you had a good, productive day. Anxiety was present, but you seemed to accept it. You smiled at it, danced with it, allowed it to come through in your writing; write, delete, write delete, it didn’t matter, this was writing, real writing. This is what it’s all about.
You got up to go to the bathroom god knows how many times (two flasks of green tea!), and when you came back to sitting you felt invigorated and refreshed, not just from visiting the gents but from getting up, walking, giving yourself space.
Space… so important.
Shoulders getting sore, you changed positions. You unfolded the small table your wife bought you (for you to experiment with standing whilst typing – something you rarely do) and placed it on the yoga mat, on the floor, at the end of the bed. You felt comfortable kneeling like the Japanese. A friend sent you an article about the benefits of squatting, so after reading it you squatted for a while, and then you crossed your legs like you do when you meditate, and all of it helped.
Note to self: Wishing the anxiety to stop creates more of it. Use it, or it will use you.