My daughter talks a lot. A lot.
We tend to tiptoe past her room in the mornings because from the moment she wakes up until she is finally, with great effort, in the bed, the child is talking. I read a study that men and women speak essentially the same amount of words—this chick must be training for a gold medal in the Gum-Flapping Olympics. She can TALK.
And anybody who has that much to say generally is a decent storyteller (hey, look at me!) The Honey Badger had a recent spate of stories she had to write for school. They were doing this story mountain exercise and she had go through the major components of a story (Beginning, Build-Up, Climax, Resolution, Ending). One of those was a story about being a turkey on Thanksgiving and how you would escape. Because I am the writer in the family (unless you look at my wife’s blog), I get to tackle this assignment. YAY!
The Honey Badger has a million ideas: shoot the turkey out a cannon, ice skate away, get a bunch of other turkeys and do a Michael Jackson Thriller-style dance escape. But she can’t pick. She won’t decide. This becomes the argument, “I don’t know what to write!”
Unfortunately, I know exactly where she’s coming from.
I have a degree in Sociology (I know, I don’t look like the type). One of the main questions sociology tries to answer is nature vs. nurture. I didn’t physically make either one of my kids—we are a Hamburger Helper, just-add-water type of family. But I did mold them and the Honey Badger’s been my little project since she was 2. She’s 9.
I think I gave her my own habits as it relates to writing and procrastinating. I know exactly how she feels and apparently so do many of my writing friends. I read a post by Deanna Knippling (10 Signs You’re Not Getting Published) and the number 1 reason sign was “You can comfortably say, ‘So I have an idea for this book…’ or ‘I have lots of ideas for books.’”
Damn. I fell into that category. I have a thousand ideas for books but only one of them is complete. Damn. And for you non-writers out there, it’s not just about writing. It’s easy to think about the things we want to do to really own our lives: work out, read more, take a trip, take our kids to school, bungee jump, whatever. We choose a date on the calendar or at the start of the week or in an hour when we’re actually going to start. But there is a point where thinking about what you should do doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t do anything. It’s just procrastubration—it just makes you feel better about doing something later that you haven’t actually committed to doing at all.
Truth is, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Or, if that’s too abrasive, fish or cut bait (I don’t even know what that means). Even Nike’s in on it: Just Do It. Do something. Right now. Right NOW. Stop talking and thinking and planning about that thing you know you should do or that person you know you should be and start doing it. NOW. So what if you fall? So what if you fail? So what? “It is better to fail at doing something than achieve in doing nothing.” Do something RIGHT NOW.
The Honey Badger wrote her story when we had a similar conversation. I told her she couldn’t pick wrong; it’s her story. She can’t be wrong. But she had to pick. She did. And after 4 days of hemming and hawing, of bullshitting and procrasturbating and losing TVs and play time, she finally wrote her story. And it was good.
As for me, I’m going to sh…well, that’s probably TMI, huh? You know the deal.If you want it, the Honey Badger’s story is below:
The Great Escape of Kayla the Turkey
Once upon a time there was a turkey named Kayla. She was really sad because no one would buy her. Then one day something strange happened. Kayla got picked up and put in a shopping cart. Was it true? Was Kayla actually getting bought? Then Kayla got put on a conveyor belt so she could go to the person’s house. Kayla finally arrive at the person’s house. She was so excited but then Kayla saw a stove that was opened so Kayla thought that they were going to cook her! So Kayla had to escape! Kayla ran and jumped off the table. Kayla was really scared like a bunny when it is being chased. Then Kayla ran to the living room. Kayla got really scared because the dog barked at her. She climbed up on the couch! The dog jumped on the couch and tried to eat Kayla. Kayla jumped off the couch and ran upstairs to the parents’ room and the dog followed her. Then Kayla jumped out the window! The dog did too! Luckily it was a two story house. The owners dashed like lightning out the door. After that Kayla ran to the grocery store. Next she jumped into the Turkey bin and blended in with the other Turkeys. Very last the owners came to find the turkey. Then the dog comes in and barks. The cashiers came and so did the cops! The cashiers took the dog away! After they took the dog away the cops took the owners and kicked them out of the store. The turkey Kayla squeezed to the bottom of the turkey bin and no one bought her. Kayla lived happily ever after.