Writing, Like Yoga, Is A Practice

I’ve been going to yoga once a week for the last few months. I’ve always done yoga, since I was thirteen, actually. I enjoy it, it’s peaceful and it keeps my chronic back issues in check. But for the first time in my life, I have a class that I can go to. I’ve really loved it.

My yoga instructor is a great woman named Mickey. She likes to tell us little inspirational things while we’re in savasana. This is supposed to be the hardest pose for the Western Yogi. I understand this entirely. When I’ve got every reason to be running, lying still is really freaking hard. It’s also rather strange for me in a personal way. I’m going to class at the YMCA, in the same building I went to day care at when I was a kid. I took naps there, on mats that I swear weren’t much thicker than my yoga mat. It’s weird, as a thirty year old woman, to find myself in the same place, doing the same thing, just this time on purpose.

I’m getting off topic, though.

Mickey said something to us in my last class that hit home. It was just the thing I needed to hear. “Yoga is a practice. Every time you come to your mat it’s the first time you’ve come to your mat.”

I didn’t actually need to be told that. I’ve been doing yoga since I was thirteen and I still have all the balance of a two second old giraffe. But I kind of needed to be told that about my writing.

This year I’ve published three books. I have a fourth book being traditionally published, and a fifth book coming out early next year. This is awesome!

But it’s also terrifying. Because now, when I come to the blank page, I feel those books. I feel as though, because I’ve written five books, I should be really good at that. I should be a great writer and everything that I write should be, must be, better than what I’ve written before. It’s got to live up to its brothers, right out of the gate.

This is fucking stupid, and as a grown woman I should know better. But sometimes, we need to be told by someone wiser. I’m not wiser than you, I’m sure. But Mickey might be, so I’ll pass along her words to you.

Come to the blank page as a practice, as if for the first time. No matter how many stories you write, no matter how many books are behind you. The blank page is a practice.

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