Lover Of Your Process
I mean you have the abundance of energy when you’re young, and so the energy — my energy is different, and even my capacity to like remember.1 It’s sort of like I would kind of build a poem I had all day long when I was in my 20s and 30s. And now it’s sort of like I much more rely on taking notes and putting things together and assembling different stuff, but I do feel like, yeah, my confidence is just much deeper.2 And as much as I — I mean I think everybody, it’s like before you stand up to read or at certain points, writing a book, particularly in prose, you have this fear that this is the one you won’t be able to make. This is the book that won’t come together. This is the logic that, suddenly, is deeply lacking — I mean this fear.
I mean I think fear is part of the process of writing. But I think almost to dispel that fear, you either have to put yourself in situations where there’s nothing to do, but write, or you have to become like a regular lover of your process, so that you kind of — you just constitutionally are required to write, because you keep showing up in the same place in the same way, and giving — I mean acting like something is important that you don’t know if it’s important.3 I mean I feel like writing is sort of like when people talk about their relationships. If you don’t give it any time, it will wither, and I think that’s the case with writing.4 And so, my life is much more conducive to giving myself that. I’m economically stable, like I’m getting a reward for writing.
The thing that’s interesting about having a career and time is that like slowly what you have to get better at is beating away other people’s interest in your interest kind of. Like people want you to look at their work or you get invited to teach and travel, and it’s all kind of like the perks in the — they want you to judge a contest. And it’s sort of like the perks of your privilege and the burdens of your privilege start to take away your writing time. And so it’s like the new scarcity is me for me, and so that’s part of the — part of the practice now is really, really learning to say no to stuff. And then when I say no, not watching 17 episodes of House of Cards in that time, but actually writing.