Facing It

For me, the hardest part of any writing task - and of any life task - of any task whatsoever - can be summed up in two words: "facing it." I build up so much dread and terror and fear and loathing; I convince myself it's impossible, it simply can't be done. . . . and then, once I actually face it, it's NEVER as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes it's even worse.

But then I think of these words from Joseph Conrad that are my current mantra:

"Facing it - always facing it - that's the way to get through."

It's the only way, actually.

The new book I don't have an idea for yet? The only way I'm going to get an idea is to sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and start brainstorming.

That plot problem that can't be solved? The only way I'm going to solve it is to turn on my computer and start trying out solutions.

The revisions that are completely insurmountable? Once I finally make myself face them - after months of panicked procrastination - I can often get them done in a matter of weeks.

Do you remember the classic picture book Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury? The bear-hunting family encounters a daunting series of obstacles: grass, river, forest, snowstorm, each time with the refrain:

We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh, no!
We've got to go through it!

And so they do.
And so do I.
And so do you.

"Facing it - always facing it - that's the way to get through."


  1. I needed to read this today! Thank you 😊

    1. Thanks, Kathleen.I need to read it every day!

  2. I'm going to put this by my computer. ;)

  3. I just faced a task that I've been avoiding for two weeks, and in two hours it was done! I don't like tattoes, but if I were to get one, this line from Joseph Conrad might be it.

  4. No truer words have ever been spoken: we have to go through it.Well said.


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