When I was six years old, I wrote my first book. It was a story about a mermaid who lost her favorite shell and she enlisted the help of several sea creatures to find it. I even included illustrations in crayon. I was so proud of myself when I finished it. That feeling has stayed with me my whole life. But there have been many times I’ve let that feeling fade into the background, allowing all the noise, the minutiae, and the crap to take center stage.
I’ve dabbled in writing since then, and even self-published a book of humorous poems and a book on how to write well. But there’s a story in me that needs to get out. It’s painful and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to write as good as some of my favorite authors. I sit down to write it, and it flows for a while. Then the crap begins: “You can’t do this. This story is too big for what you’re capable of. You’re not as good as so-and-so. Why are you even trying?” And I give up.
I began seriously practicing yoga in January of this year. I’ve done yoga on and off since 2000 but never committed to a practice. At my first yoga retreat, I saw the yogi do the crow pose. I don’t know what it was about this pose but my mind was blown. I wanted to do it. I practiced a lot but I could never get it. My elbows would shake and succumb to the weight of my body or I’d overdo it and fall flat on my face. After several years, I just figured it was a pose I couldn’t do because of the structure of my body.
Like the urge to write a book, the desire to do the crow pose never left me. Both were always there smoldering in the background of my life.
When I made the commitment to practice yoga every day this year, I started trying the crow again. Of course my elbows still wobbled but something was different. I chose to not give up. I watched videos on Yogaglow.com. I asked my yoga instructors to go through it with me move by move. I got closer and closer. As I practiced other poses, my shoulders got stronger and stronger.
Then one day in yoga class, I did it. I held the crow pose for more than three seconds. I was elated! Nearly 13 years of trying the crow pose I was finally able to do it.
Now I’m back to writing my story. It is really hard because it’s based on painful events in my life. Sometimes I can’t even bear writing it but then I remember that I couldn’t do the crow pose not so long ago. It was hard too but I didn’t give up. If I can do that, I can finish this story. All I need to do is forget about everything else—the noise, the minutiae, the crap—and just write.
What about you? Can you block everything else out and just write? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.