Thursday, February 24, 2011

Easy does it


There were days when I cheated and wrote more than three pages: "I'm doing so well, I can't stop now!" I found that as soon as I did so, my ego woke up, "proud" of what "I" had "accomplished." The reemergence of ego was distinctly uncomfortable. I began to see the wisdom that lay in a small, modest quota, nothing to get all worked up about.

When I was tempted to binge on my work, my advisers would caution me, "Easy does it." At first I heard this as a bromide. I thought they were telling me something like "Oh, calm down." My ego hated this phrase "Easy does it." My ego still wanted binges of writing, the drama of trying to write flat-out.

All too soon I learned that binges invited an equal and opposite reaction. I would binge one day and feel "dry" and "empty" the next. Instead of steady production, I would experience spurts. My progress would zoom ahead, then skid to a halt.

"Easy does it," I was told again, and this time with a bit more explanation. "Easy does it means 'easy accomplishes it,'" I was told. "If you're willing to go along 'slowly,' you will be amazed how quickly pages accumulate. Three pages a day is ninety pages a month. That's a lot of prose."

~ Julia Cameron in Floor Sample