Prescription for desperation and paralysis

“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

I’ve been feeling desperate lately. Desperate to get back to my 80 percent finished work in progress. Desperate to finish it so I can move on to other projects. Desperate to work on other projects (because I have literally four other books outlined).

But I’m paralyzed.

That’s when it’s time to  pull out my favorite book about writing (and life): Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. She evokes Chesterton in her chapter about “Short Assignments,” which I have dog eared:

“Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong. It is no wonder we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously.”

The work in progress that is paralyzingly me is, you might remember, about the year I turned 15 and learned to French kiss. So to be reminded to be cheerful and not take myself too seriously is excellent advice. So, I am trying to be cheerful and remember Lamott’s useful concept of short assignments: “just write as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.”

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