Just write something.
I’ve been telling myself this all week.
It’s harder than it may seem.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was five and the weekly homeschool co-op teacher helped us bind blank pieces of paper together to create a book. I don’t think I finished the book (the continual story of my writing career), but I think it was a spin off of 101 Dalmatians, creatively titled Lost Puppies. As I matured and gained a better sense of what good writing was (and spelling) I tossed this manuscript embarrassedly into the trash, knowing that now at age nine Anne’s Horse was really going to be the masterpiece and I didn’t want its superb literary expertese to be tarnished by childish books from the same author. And thus began the continual pattern that I followed for the next eight years. Brilliant idea. Two chapters written. Inspiration dwindles. Re-inspired by watching Little Women and wanting to write like Jo March. New idea. Throw out old scribblings. I am not sure if there exists a single remaining work of fiction written by the aspiring author that my childhood self was, with “finish a novel” written on each of her New Years Resolutions.
Once college happened there were no more manuscripts to throw out, and that sweet season of childhood dream jobs seemed to fade as the reality of my actual abilities and responsibilities became more apparent. I had thought that the habit of writing a paragraph or two and then throwing it out for a better idea had passed completely.
And then in January I decided to start a blog.
And perhaps my computer is running slower because of the dozens of five sentenced untitled documents I have open, waiting for more inspiration, waiting for more insight, waiting for more time, waiting for a masterpiece to be formed.
I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. I live most of life sliding by with “good enough.” But for some reason when it comes to writing I won’t complete anything I don’t feel to be excellent. Why fill the internet with just another blog of mediocre rambling? If I’m going to publish something it has to be good. And if I am going to finish something I better publish it.
Hence my seven posts since January.
I like blogging. I really do. I love being forced to write well. I like to express myself through writing. I like the surge I feel when my fingers start flying across the keyboard in attempts to keep up with my brain.
And it isn’t from lack of ideas that I can’t seem to finish things. I have a new idea every day. In fact there are so many that I am daunted and can’t decide how to stream the thoughts into one cohesive blog post that would be well-written and worth someone’s time to read.
So we come to the issue at hand. My desire for an epic blog post has kept me from writing anything. My hope to publish only what others will approve of, learn from, or at least enjoy has kept me from doing what I love. And so I let free time slip by me, filling it with who knows what (seriously – how can I possibly spend an hour more and be unable to express what I did in it?), rather than write. Or play piano. Or read good books.
Isn’t that how so many of us often function? “I would really love to write more. I would love to cook more. I would love to work out and eat healthy. I would like to spend more time in Bible study and prayer. I would would like to learn a new instrument, to master a foreign language, to increase my knowledge on a subject. But I just don’t have time. I have work, and school, and family responsibilities. And when I do catch a few minutes to myself I’m so exhausted. I can’t help but scroll through Facebook eight times until I’ve memorized the most recent newsfeed.”
I’ve heard this called the tyranny of the urgent. I have house guests tomorrow so I have to clean the house. I have a class to teach so I have to make a lesson plan. I have a concert so I have to practice this music. I have to work so I can pay these bills. I have to study so I can pass this class. I have to address the issues of the moment. And in that rare moment when the list of the urgent is small, there is no habits in place to do what is healthy, important, or vital to keeping your heart impassioned.
So tonight as I moseyed about the house and tried to decide how to spend the evening I pled with myself. Just write something. I argued with myself. “I could work on something else. I could even watch a movie and eat ice cream. And I don’t really have any real ideas.” But I fought back. Just write something. It took a large amount of grit but I at last loaded up my backpack and walked to the closest Starbucks (as I have learned it is highly unlikely I would actually stay focused on anything at my house), opened my computer, and just wrote. I only had a vague idea of what it was I hoped to express, but as often happens once we sit down to act on our goals, the ball started rolling and suddenly I have two pages of thoughts.
Today two pages of thoughts is a victory. I would usually tempted to scrutinize the words, shut the computer and say “another day,” but not today. Today I am excited to let my fingers type words. I’m eager to post this. And I’m hopeful that it will be read and enjoyed. But that priority is no longer keeping me from waiting until I feel confident enough to push ‘publish’.
And so I must apologize. From here on out I do not promise anything epic. I may not produce inspiring words of insight that deserve to go viral. And I ask you to not expect life altering posts. This very well may become just another blog of poorly written observations on a very average life. There may be typos. There probably will be some cliches and trite sayings. And a majority of the things published will be something I would have previously deleted. I won’t wait until I think it is worthy of pasting to my blog and pressing publish. And that is terrifying. But how does anyone become a writer without writing?
So for those with similar dilemmas. Who have the dream to do something but are waiting until they are better. Or until they have time. To those who are too overwhelmed with options. Can you find a pocket of time to join me in the pursuit of following a dream? Just write something.