Nothing To Do But Write

I’ll never have those golden blank days stretched out in front of me, a giant desk in a country house with nothing to do but write.

So, as soon as I read the above quote by Dave Housley, from an essay in which he describes how he wrote his book in the tiny increments of time he was able to steal between everything going on in his life day to day, I felt guilty.

Or maybe I didn’t; the truth is, it was sometime last week, so I don’t remember exactly how I felt, though guilty is probably a good assumption, because every moment that I spend thinking about how I should be writing and how I am not, I do kind of feel guilty and want to berate myself for it. Not that that would change anything.

Guilty, because, see, if Dave Housley doesn’t have this huge chunk of time on his hands which he can use to do nothing but write if he wants to, and he still wrote a book and had it published—and I do have these huge chunks of time which I can use to do nothing but write if I want to, and I’m…not. Case in point.

Just to add to that is the fact that that free time was an enormous draw for me when it came to this job I have now: “I can read, I can write,” I remember saying. I can—but I’m usually not.

Maybe the hardest part is just sitting down and getting started. I remember another article I read—I do seem to read a lot of those—that basically said that if you just start working on something for five seconds, you’ll be more likely to finish it because you’ll get that momentum going. Maybe that’s what I need to focus on: just sitting down, and writing on whatever it is for five seconds, and then see what happens. If nothing else, I guess I’ll have something to show for those five seconds, however crappy the writing is, or however much sense it doesn’t make—and there’s nothing wrong with that, either!

After all. You can’t edit a blank page.

I’m here now. I’m putting in the effort, and what I’ll have to show for this is another finished blog post—my first one in longer than I’d care to think about. Here you are.

Time to go and write on something else now.

🖤

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The Rest Is Still Unwritten

Feeling pretty overwhelmed at the moment, and as a writer, that’s a dangerous state to be in. (Not the good kind of dangerous, either.) If I start thinking about how I should turn off Law & Order: SVU and go close myself in the study to write, I start feeling guilty for not doing exactly that. If I start thinking about all the work I have to do on Bailey’s story, all the revisions I have to do and the plot points I haven’t even hit yet, it starts to feel like it’s too big. Like I can’t tell the story; like I don’t have it in me to do so. When the truth is, I know I’m the only one who can. It’s the same for everything else I write, too, and all the things I want to finish, including the things I haven’t even started. And, thinking about all of them, it feels like there are too many and I will drown in these worlds I want to swim in.

It’s scary. Terrifying, even, because then I can think about what comes next. Finishing? Revising? Publishing? I’ve only just scratched the surface of this path I want to walk for my life, and suddenly it feels too long, too winding, with not enough reward to justify my going this way. (I know it’s not about the reward; the reward should be the art itself. But the world doesn’t account for it the same way the artist does.)

So then you can say, “It doesn’t matter what the world says. It’s what you say.” The same words I say to other people. But giving advice is often much easier than taking it, even when it’s your own. Yes; I know it is what I say to myself that matters, more than what anybody else says to me. But no matter what I say, if I feel scared, if I feel overwhelmed—what am I supposed to do?

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Well.

I guess I’m supposed to publish this, and then go write the next thing.

The Days Are Long

The days are long…

Except they’re not really, and yesterday didn’t feel like that—until it did.

Maybe it was just because it was Monday. Maybe it was the frustrating battle with my new-to-me printer I had in the morning, or the mildew I found in the towel hamper. Maybe it was the three or four surprise orientations I had to do at work in the afternoon—orientations aren’t hard, but they can be a little stressful because there are several little steps for getting new members set up to use the facility, and I already kind of felt like my brain was all over the place.

Speaking of my job, I have news that I have not shared with you, my readers—I graduated from UH on Thursday (go me!) and I now hold a full-time job at a local fitness center. If you’re curious—no, they’re not related, as you may remember I was pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. But I like my job—the flexibility, the facility, the people I work with, and the people I meet there.

So yesterday I ended up doing about six orientations in total. Honestly, I don’t mind them. But I’m glad that today is Tuesday, and that we don’t do them on Tuesdays. (I think I’m also glad that today is not Monday, and my dad is supposed to come visit me at work this evening while he’s in town; that will be cool.) After the fact, things were okay, until I spilled a cup of coffee everywhere. All over the desk, all over my lap, and all over the floor. I suppose it’s a small miracle that none ended up on the computer! It took three of the small towels to mop up the mess, and by the time I made it home around 9:00 p.m., one of my pant legs and the bottom of my shirt were still damp.

I know my day didn’t really go to shit, and things could’ve been much worse—they could always be worse. But after that, I was like, “Okay. I’m done.”

🖤

…but the years are short.

Like I said—I know my day didn’t really go to shit. And things could always be much, much worse. So I shouldn’t complain, even though I do.

At the same time, I always feel like I’m looking on the brighter side, at least when other people are involved. If you’ve read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, you’re familiar with narrator Cathy’s gift, as she calls it, to see both sides:

“ … And that was the golden side of my suicide coin.

But I had to turn it over, and see the tarnish. … And I was saved from death by my own ability to see both sides of the coin.”

And I feel like I identify so much with that ability, as I always seem to be saying “at least” this or “it depends…” that. I actually caught myself saying that on Sunday, and wondering if people find it annoying whenever I point something out this way.

So at the risk of being annoying now, let me examine my yesterday this way…

At least the printer will print when connected to my computer via USB. At least I was able to clean the hamper and liner, and I think they’ll be okay to try again now.

At least the new coffee pot at home makes a better cup of coffee than the Keurig, and there’s something comforting about having a pot to pick up and pour from again.

At least the coffee machine at work was fixed—though I didn’t know until I got there that it had even been out of order earlier in the day—and none of the coffee I spilled ended up on something that couldn’t be cleaned up. At least it wasn’t hot enough to burn when it spilled on my clothes.

At least I seem to have gotten down the blood pressure part of an orientation, and didn’t opt to call for Anna during my last one when she would’ve been available to help me.

At least I have this job at all, and at least I like it.

At least I have this ability to see both sides of the coin. 😉

The years are short, and they fly by. I remember first feeling acutely aware of the passage of time one day in the seventh grade, when suddenly I was several months into the school year and I wasn’t quite sure where the time had gone. And I always feel now like this awareness can be a blessing and a curse—and there I go again, looking at both sides.

At least I have this time at all. This life.