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.


Inspiration Citations

Hopes + Dreams + Fears

Recently, I spent a Saturday evening in Houston for a small reunion with some of the people that I went to Mississippi with last Spring Break for Artists & Their Regions. Naturally all 16 people did not make it, but Lynda was hosting, and Samantha, Cristina, Jasmin, Santiago, and I were there, and it was a delicious few hours—in terms of food and company.

In typical group bonding fashion, we went around the table to say a hope, a dream, and a fear that we have, for the new year or just at present. Since at least three out of six of us are on track to graduate in May—I am one of those—most of the answers revolved around getting jobs. Aside from that, I know that a hope I mentioned for the new year is to write every day. Sam asked about my blog, and suggested that I try to do more with it—which I would like to do, and hence, the makeover. I like it a lot more now. (I hope you like it, too.)

Maybe it’s technically early, but to jump off that, I’ll go ahead and pen a couple of New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Write every day.
  2. Read one non-school book per week. (I’m likely to fail at this one.)
  3. Honestly acknowledge whether I do fail, and start again from there.
  4. Remember that it’s okay to fail.

A fear, though, is failure. For me, a fear is always failure. Used to be that I would be afraid of failing a math test—a fear that started in middle school and lingered throughout high school. Then, it graduated (pardon the pun) to other tests, other school subjects, and I think the reason why it was always so school-centric was because that was always the biggest thing going on in my life. My parents always encouraged me to do well, and I was always a straight A or an A and B (math) student, but somewhere along the way I got it into my head that if my best didn’t earn me an A, then, no matter how well I did do, it was not good enough. I think I’ve finally recovered from that this semester. But there are bigger fears now. Fear of not getting a job. Not being successful. Not being able to support myself. Sum that up, and it looks like “fear of failing at life” (even though that’s not what life’s really about, and I know that).

I read two articles a couple of weeks ago about freelance writing and creativity in our world today, and essentially, what I gathered from that is that I have food stamps and time poverty to look forward to. That won’t necessarily be the case (don’t worry, Mom), but it is a possibility in the sense that everything is always a possibility. Honestly, I think the one of these that I should be more worried about is the second, because already, as a college student, there are so many times (days? weeks, months…) where I feel too busy to be creative. And I’ll reiterate that that can be just an excuse, and it is not an excuse I’m currently trying to make. A professor I had last Spring pointed out that sometimes being a writer means that you may have to give things up. It might mean you get less sleep, or not enough sleep, as the case may be. As much as I’d like to have it in me to give up some of my sleep in order to write—and I think I actually get too much sleep, at least on weekends, so I definitely could spare some—I’ve been so bad about that, and I wish I could be better. As it is, I often feel starved for time. Or maybe lately I feel starved for creativity, and taking care of myself, and need to step away to replenish the creative well. Of course, I have a writing workshop coming up the first weekend of January, so I’d better refill that well quickly so that I can actually have something to workshop.

At the top of my list of 100 dreams is “creativity” and “write a novel” and “publish a novel” and “write another.” Ask anybody who knows me: those have always been my dreams. My hope is that I’ll make it happen, and that I’ll live creatively. But—as Matt Groening says:

Living creatively doesn’t mean only artistic creativity.
It means being yourself.


Inspiration Citations

Authentic Power: Being Authentic and Genuine


“The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently.”

An interesting perspective from Gary Zukav—someone I’d never heard of before I Googled “quotes about springtime.” According to Wikipedia, he is an American spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker, and by “authentic power,” he means “consciously choosing intentions that create consequences for which the chooser is willing to assume responsibility.”

I ought to be more careful about that.

Springtime, as illustrated by the quote, is typically associated with freshness, rebirth, optimism. Wakefulness after a winter hibernation—figuratively, of course, unless you’re a bear, a bee, a groundhog, etc. Spring cleaning. Spring graduations—which, I’ve just learned, my own will take place next May and not this December like I thought. That’s okay—the greater disappointment for me was learning I’m on track to graduate magna cum laude rather than summa cum laude. I know, I know—I should be proud of myself regardless, right, because I’ve come so far, done so well, blah, blah. And I am. But if I’m being totally honest, the overachieving perfectionist in me was just a bit disappointed.

And that’s something else, too—perfectionism, and, in a vein similar to “authentic power,” just…authenticity. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I would rather be: perfect, or flawed. Let’s deepen that—perfect and fake and boring, or flawed and genuine and authentic. When you put it that way, is there even a question?

I think society kind of goes back and forth about it as well, with media portrayal of especially celebrities, after whom so many people like to model their lives. Who are you fascinated with lately? For me, it’s Kate Middleton, Amal Clooney, Taylor Swift. A sophisticated, polished princess, an admirable, worldly human rights international lawyer, and a pop superstar with the ability to poeticize the most complex emotions. But who else is there? More and more lately I see people like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, and Anna Kendrick being celebrated by the media for not being perfect, but for being outspoken and unafraid to be laughed at and to laugh at themselves. Unafraid to be genuineAuthentic.

I’m not saying that I want to be like these people, or that you should. I’m saying that I want to be as authentic to myself as they seem to be—which in itself might be a bad example there because, they seem to be. But think about who you seem to be to others, and how you feel about that. Are you authentically you? Do you even want to be?

During this time of year, a season of awakening and rebirth and of creating authentic power, I want to be consciously creating and being the most authentic and genuine version of myself, and, of course, to make the mistakes and the intentions for which I’ll assume responsibility (whether I’m inherently willing to or not). What about you?


Inspiration Citations

  • Gary Zukav” @  Wikipedia
  • “I had to learn a long time ago to not let my feelings about not being perfect stand in the way of enjoying my life.” —Actress Anne Hathaway on not being a perfect
  • Latin honors” @ Wikipedia