Jennifer Probst talks about the difference between envy and jealousy in her new writer’s guide, “Write Naked”. If you read the definitions they don’t seem to be that different, but they actually are when you think about it. When I consider my friends who have published I’m envious of their success, I wish I had the same success, but I don’t wish I had it instead of any one of them. Now, if I were jealous of them I would want just that, to take their success away from them. I would believe I deserved it and not them. In reality, I don’t begrudge a single one of them what they have earned because I know how hard they each had to work to get to where they are today. So I continue to work just as hard in the hopes of one day earning that success for myself.
It’s one reason I read books like “Write Naked”. I’m mining them for that golden nugget that’s going to get me over the hump from “we really like it, but…” to “we really like it and we want it”; that tip that will make all the difference.
The idea of writing naked is not about actually taking your clothes off to write; although that is certainly an individual decision. It’s about letting go of all your worries about what others will think. It’s about not getting hung up on the details when writing a first draft. First drafts are supposed to be bad. Well, maybe not bad, but rough. Don’t agonize over that perfect word to describe his eyes, or the way his lips felt when he kissed her the first time. Instead, just get it down on paper. The rest is called revision and that comes later. You have to build your frame before you can put up the walls and the roof, before you decide the perfect shade of paint for each room.
It’s what we used to call free writing. You put your butt in the chair and your pen or pencil to the paper and you start writing. Will you have to delete a lot of it later? Probably. Will you have to add a lot? Definitely. But that’s a worry for a different day.
So, that’s where I’m at with “The Healing Heart”; butt in chair and pencil to paper.