Those are the sounds I hear in my head as I flex my writing muscles for the first time in a while. It’s amazing how little time it really takes for a good coating of rust to form in the creative machinery of the mind.
There are a lot of reasons I haven’t been writing, some valid, and some pretty lame. Like anything else, writing is a habit that is built over time and, once broken, can be hard to pick back up again.
For me, the process actually started yesterday. Which is not to say I wrote yesterday. Far from it, in fact. I did absolutely nothing yesterday except sleep and watch tv and read. I rested my arm (which has been physically preventing me from writing for any length of time) and I rested my mind. I pet the cat and ordered Chinese food and watched recordings on the DVR.
Today, the fact that it’s now after 5pm and I’m only just starting to write has more to do with the Critic, I think, than anything. I did sleep late again, which made my cat very happy. But even when I got up, feeling quite a bit more rested than yesterday, I still couldn’t make myself open the laptop. Partly there was some real concern over how my arm would react, and partly writing just seemed like so much work. In fact, the closer I got to actually writing the more my heart started pounding.
So I went on an Artist’s Date instead. The walk to Whole Foods is nothing new, but it has become something that I associate in my mind with opening up the creative brain and preparing to work. I bought new flowers for my table, and some oranges. Then I moved my laptop to the table so I could hopefully position my hands better and have less irritation of the nerves. And, of course, I can see and smell the flowers.
So, finally, here I am. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and writing. It’s slow, and not particularly inspired, but it’s something. And it’s yet another reminder of how important it is to just keep putting one word after the other, regardless of what else is going on in my life.
I don’t have to write 1,000 words a day. I don’t have to write a half a page, even. As many times as I have come home feeling like crap and then ended up with 400 or 500 words just because I opened the Word document and let the momentum build as I went along, you’d think I would have learned the lesson by now.
So, to remind myself as much as anyone else, here’s what I know. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and push the obstacles and excuses out of your way. If they need handling, then deal with them. If they don’t, then set them down and move on. Then just write. Something. Anything. Put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and just do the work.
Here’s to all of us, writing.