Reverb 10: Writing.

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

~ Leo Babauta, Reverb 10: Day 2 Prompt

As if it were that simple. The days consist of morning workouts and protein drinks, of showers and hair dryers and fresh clothes, of coffee and creamer and snacks, of client calls and client work and client reflection, of part-time work and calculations and reflections, of staring at a snoring puppy, of 72+ ounces of water, of email checking and reading and writing and archiving, of meditating (or at least thinking about it every now and then), of thinking and engaging and writing and editing and posting and editing some more  and hitting the “update” key several times before finally being satisfied enough to leave it alone, of preparing and cooking and eating and cleaning, of hugging and kissing and cuddling and sometimes even caressing and removing clothes and more of the hugging and kissing and cuddling, of Kindling and note-taking, of white noise and tosses-and-turns and shut eyes and sleep, sometimes even of the REM variety, of Life.

We can complicate our days with all the details that become our lives, or we can simply live those lives and write about it. Write about it all. I think I understand what Leo was going for. Something like eliminating that Facebook time or that TV watching time or that non-productive time that takes away from your writing time. Yes. Indeed, I get it.

The thing is, all that stuff that’s not writing up there, is life. My life.

Of course, there’s a little part of me that wants to play along and see what there is to eliminate. Not for the sake of productivity, but for the sake of authenticity. I’m all for being productive. As long as it doesn’t fuck with my ability to be … you know … me. See, sometimes that 8-minute game of sudoku is just the break I need to pull my mind out of its clutter and see a path I was too stuck in the forest to see just 8 minutes ago. But for the sake of playing along …

[eyes rolling]

[thumbs twiddling]

[deep sigh]

[fingers tapping lightly on the keyboard—too light to make any letters actually appear on the screen]

Here’s another thing: I’m not so good with the playing along just for the sake of playing along. As I sit here finally making contact with the keyboard in front of me, words appearing on the screen, as if by magic, I realize that I’ve actually spent a great deal of time in the very state of reflection Leo suggests.


I went a little overboard on the uncluttering this year and had to get a hold of myself. Smack myself silly and yell in my very best Cher voice: Snap out of it! And so I did. Snap out of it, that is. I learned a great lesson in doing so:

… if you are purging from the same mindset that you had while procuring – well, that’s just the other side of the same coin, honey.

~ Lianne Raymond

My mindset of late is one of thoughtful procurement, which results in a whole lot less purging. Less Twitter tweets to sort through. Less Facebook feeds to sift through. Less reading of writing. Less of what I don’t want and more of what I do want.

It’s working out nicely, and is just the momentum I believe I’ll be carrying into the new year. As for eliminating the things that don’t contribute to my writing, I think I can leave that alone for now. Consciously. Thoughtfully. Respectfully. Authentically. Right now, it seems, everything is contributing to my writing. Sometimes life’s just that way.

How does life contribute to your writing?

This post is written as Day 2 of Reverb 10, inspired and created by Gwen Bell (Best of ’09) and her rockingly awesome cohorts. Are you reverbing too? Feel free to share yourself in the comments below.

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December.3.2010 at 7.43 pm


whollyjeanne December.4.2010 at 3.16 am

from what i’ve seen, not much has gotten in the way of your writing. so proud of you for drinking the water, doing the exercising, and well, it just seems that you’ve developed a rhythm to your days that provides momentum and the rhythm and resulting momentum works for you. love what lianne says about shedding and procuring. it’s true, isn’t it?

Dian Reid December.4.2010 at 6.08 am

holy-hell-yes it is! and thank you, my dear =) i am ever so grateful for your presence in my blogosphere and subsequently, my life. cheers to you, sugar ‘o)

Janet December.4.2010 at 3.48 am

life just contributes! because every experience you have can be a chance to write about it 🙂

Dian Reid December.4.2010 at 6.06 am

so, so true. i find that very sentiment to be helpful when my mind tries to claim “writer’s block!” =)

olive & hope December.4.2010 at 5.56 am

yes. good god…yes. If I were there I would probably offer up a high five!

Dian Reid December.4.2010 at 6.06 am

*high five* sister!

jan December.4.2010 at 9.22 am

Funny! That was my other initial response to the prompt – everything! It’s such a good way of looking at the obstacles I sometimes place in my own way. Thank you for helping me develop my initial fleeting thought further and posing that other question.

Kathyloh December.5.2010 at 12.06 am

It’s synergistic this writing and life relationship. For me, they are alchemical partners. And then there really are these things I do that feel like floating with an especially strong current down a minor tributary. Was it helpful, useful, necessary, beneficial? I rarely know until I am out the other side. Like you, these days I am more mindful of the currents. Less likely to get sidetracked.

Brava Dian!

CoffeeJitters.Net (Judy Haley) December.21.2010 at 12.23 am

“… if you are purging from the same mindset that you had while procuring – well, that’s just the other side of the same coin, honey.”

This quote from Lianne Raymond really resonated with me – it’s so easy to over-correct, to go from one extreme to the other without ever experiencing any balance in the middle.

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