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The most perfect mess
On the freedom of writing from confining spaces
I’ve been working on my memoir’s manuscript for four years, making use of every moment of peace and emotional sturdiness I’ve been able to carve out to peel layers, dig deep, uncover connections and find meaning — for me, for you — in my story. I’ve done a lot of writing during long train and plane rides, headphones blasting music in my ears, the sound acting like blinders that shield me from distractions. On trains and planes, no one bothers me. Demands don’t come calling. Also, the idea of being on the move injects into me a sense of liberation that burns like fuel. A soft light flickers on, illuminating spaces I’ve feared returning to. To enter them and linger there is to reclaim myself.
I finished the memoir’s fourth draft last month, hoping it would be my final draft, but knowing it isn’t. I passed it on to my agent and three readers already fully aware of the loops left unclosed, transitions that require some smoothing, and the moments I’d have to revisit for a fuller and clearer picture. I avoided these, but didn’t abandon them. I used three hours on a train last week and three more on a plane today to give them the attention they need and deserve.
This was the view as I wrote. And, yes, I always choose a window seat.
Writing is tough. It’s humbling. Writing can also be an exercise in self-growth. I used to look at writing as a mirror exposing my limitations. Now, after stitching together the arc of my self-discovery in roughly 90,000 words, I see it as an opportunity at molding the painful and the joyful, the ugly and the beautiful, the special and the mundane into the most perfect mess.
For some great advice on writing productivity, check out this column by my friend S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media. Among other things, Mitra talks about the confidence and freedom that come with age and experience.
Each week, when I sit down to write, I’m reminded of the countless experiences that frame my lens and perspective. It’s a reminder that’s given me the confidence to not necessarily have to turn to an expert to assert an idea—I might be enough. — S. Mitra Kalita
I am enough and, yes, you are too.
With love and purpose, always.
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