Friday, March 1, 2013

"We are what we repeatedly do -

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~ Aristotle.

I sat down at my computer tonight and played around on Facebook for a bit. I remembered I had several ideas for a blog throughout the day, but never actually started one. I have a headache and couldn’t come up with anything original, but I opened a Word doc and started typing anyway.

It is better to do something than nothing. I never want to be paralyzed by the idea of perfection. Picture a painter sitting in front of a canvas with a brush in hand all day long, never putting a drop of paint on it, because he fears the first stroke will not be perfect and so the entire painting will be worthless. I joined a writers networking group on LinkedIn back in November when I was doing NaNoWriMo. I get daily updates on what’s popular on their message boards. Someone posted the topic, “Step 1 is taken, I have made up my mind to write a book. What do you suggest as Step 2?” When I read this I thought, that the first step isn’t making up your mind to write a book. It’s writing the book. Steps 2-5 are editing the book. It’s not just thinking about doing it, it’s the doing it. A step is an action. It is a thing you do.

I have had this experience with writing. A brand new journal or notebook is intimidating. What if I write something silly or foolish, that I will be embarrassed to read later? I’ve had that happen too. “How did I ever think that, I can’t believe I was so foolish?” But I try not to feel that way, and forgive my past self, because what I captured there was honestly how I felt and thought at the time. And I can learn something about myself by going back and re-reading it. So it still has value and meaning.

So let's paint. Write. Dance. Sing. We should never be afraid to express ourselves because it is through self-expression that we learn who we are. We are what we do, not what we think about doing. I'm a writer. I am not a writer because I say I am, but because I write.

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