“I need to bring up radio station KFKD, or K-Fucked, here. . .Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, of all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything that one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on.”
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Please to forgive the long quote. It’s all there because it’s such an important thing to recognize. Its nail-through-the-heart correctness strikes at the root of every bad work habit writers have. And it’s wise enough to make one look past the irritating cords of neurosis that almost strangle Anne Lamott’s great book on the craft.
No matter what the writer is writing, his memories and fantasies are swirling around his brain along with the plasma from which he eventually pulls the next sentence. They can be valuable in supporting roles, but once they’re allowed to mug for the camera the show’s over. Go check Facebook and your e-mail and Twitter again. Come back and try again in an hour. . . past the deadline.
If it’s been a while since you read Bird by Bird, dust it off. It will put KFKD on hiatus for at least a moment.