Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bird by Bird

Hey y'all.  Guess where I've been?  You know, where I've been since last........Monday?

Yup. On Twitter. 

I haven't been posting that many tweets actually.  Every once in a while I open my little tweety-beak, and RT (re-tweet) something, or comment on someone else's Tweet.  But heck - if you thought using Facebook to comment on the status of the sister-of-your-best-friend-in-junior-high was strange, try commenting on the status of an uber-blogger that you follow. 

The main surprise I've found over there in Twit-land is the sheer volume of links posted - links to other people's amazing blogs.  Links to other people's articles being published in some on-line journal.  Links to fabulous sites where the contributers write/produce/manufacture The. Most. Fabulous. Things!  Twitter can keep you clicking all afternoon long.

Great site designs.  Inspirational connections, insights, and writing - oh, the writing!  There are some amazing people crafting the language out there on the Internets. 

And with each click, with each link followed, the anxiety levels rise......rise......rise.........RISING!!!!!  Looming above me, in fact, with scary thought bubbles that say really helpful things like oh wait, what? you thought you might write a blog after reading all this? ha. HA! Or something like that anyway.

Now I know it ain't cool to whine that the cool kids say all the cool things, and what am I going to say, poor small Winona-Ryder-in-Lucas blogger that I am.  I'm just sayin: Twitter makes me anxious. 

So I'm sort of processing where I go from there.  What do I say when confronted with evidence that it's all been said before, on a site with a cleverer domain name.  Do I go serious? Get all philosophical and perhaps [gasp!] theological? Do I go funny, and talk about how my kid got a black eye from falling off the front of the toilet? Do I stay RANDOM, and leave my readers wondering what the heck is going to pop into my brain that day?

So here's the little thought I have to repeat to myself throughout the day to keep the crazy scary thought bubbles at bay and then collapsing in a heap of hyperventilation:  you're just writing. 

I'm writing because that is what I do.   I'm writing because I made a promise to myself that this little voice o' mine wouldn't get swept under the floormats like so many Goldfish crumbs.  (Remember that?)

It would be nice if my blog had a swishy design, if I could figure out TrackBacks and TweetDeck and Mr Linky.  Actually, it would be nice if I had enough content, you know - stuff to read -  that would justify all the high-speed upgrades.

I am writing because I am a writer. I will keep doing this thing, this putting one word after another here in this space, because that is what I do.  Same way as you get back to running by putting one running shoe in front of the other (preferably with your feet in them), this is the way you learn to write: by putting the words down.

It took me until this very point in the post to suddenly bring to mind Anne Lamott, and her wonderful introduction to Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was  ten years old at the time, was trying to get a  report on birds written that he'd had three months to  write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen  table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper  and pencils and unopened books on birds,  immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my  father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'

And with that, I will leave you with a post about this very topic, by someone I've discovered on Twitter of all places, and who said all that I just said, right up there, a whole lot more eloquently. 


Cheryl said...

LOVE that book. One of my all-time faves on writing.
How are you finding things on Twitter? I don't it. I mean, I just see things posted by the people I follow. Explain!

Hollie said...

Absolutely love that book....and anything else by Anne Lamott. She's one of my all-time favorite writers.

Glynn said...

"Bird by Bird" was my introduction to Anne Lamott. A friend gave me the book. I've now read everything she wrote, but "Bird by Bird," well, it's like a first love.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

You know what I find amazing? We ALL seem to feel what you're feeling. And yet we're certain that we're the only ones.

I'm glad I popped over. You definitely are a writer who needs to keep writing.

(And I'll echo: I LOVE Bird by Bird.)

Anonymous said...

So glad that you joined the carnival!

I agree with Steph, you need to keep writing. Oh, and I think I need to read this book!

Lori-Anne said...

Okay, I'm going to track down this book now.

katdish said...

Oh, I dunno...

I think you said it pretty well myself. And don't let twitter intimidate you. Tweet like the wind!

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