I am reading this book, that’s really getting under my skin (in the good way, like the falling in love way). And in it Ms. Patchett says this,
“Do you want to do this thing? Sit down and do it. Are you not writing? Keep sitting there. Does it not feel right? Keep sitting there. Think of yourself as a monk walking the path to enlightenment. Think of yourself as a high school senior wanting to be a neurosurgeon. Is it possible? Yes. Is there some shortcut? Not one I’ve found. Writing is a miserable awful business. Stay with it. It is better than anything in the world.”
I’ve re-read that paragraph over and over to myself and then out loud to anyone who was within range. It affects me profoundly as being a writer is my calling, yet it’s the thing I constantly evade. Patchett also addresses her wanting to/not wanting to write in her book, which made me feel better about my own problems with committing to my craft. But she also made a point to encourage writers to start by writing twenty minutes a day, work up to two hours and then any time you can spare. I of course being the cocky little brat that I am decide I don’t need to start with the bare minimum, I will start with one hour, because of course I can write for an hour every day.
And naturally, I put it off all day. I even exercised before I wrote and that’s saying something as normally I love putting that off as well. Again I have no idea why because I really love working out, I just get all in a tizzy beforehand, much the same with my writing.
Finally, finally when I could think of nothing more to distract me, having worked out, eaten lunch, read running tips online, showered, did my hair, read more of Patchett’s book, went to my storage unit to dig through my boxed up book collection to find my Writer’s Block book in case, as I was already getting so nervous that I had nothing to say and finally, I arrived at the library. My designated writing spot for the next hour. Patchett also suggested that I put away my phone and allow no internet access for this designated writing time. I was going to make myself write for an entire hour but as I opened up a Word document and stared at my screen suddenly all the millions of things flitting about my brain every day all day begging me to write them down, had disappeared.
I just stared. And panicked. And stared. And panicked. I have nothing to say. Oh my gosh I have nothing to say. When does this ever happen? I am constantly so verbose it borders on word vomit. And yet, there I sat, without a word in my head or on the blank page. Finally I latched onto a back-up idea I had been toying with (as I forgot my Writer’s Block book in the car) and I began to write that. Except the whole time I felt ultra critical of the work and slightly paranoid like someone was watching me.
After getting through thirty-five minutes in which I did not go on the internet or check my phone I became edgy with the pressure of making myself produce for a whole hour. I suddenly had to do something else. I had to pee. And I had to have a hot chocolate. Really I did. It was quite cold in the library, I hadn’t even taken off my coat, and I had been chugging water. So yes, my bladder really had to be tended to. Also I did need that hot chocolate. I am trying to come off the sugar craze that was Thanksgiving and today’s sugar only included a clementine and a banana. A little baby hot chocolate would take the edge off.
I grabbed my phone like it was my lifeline, checked Instagram like the drug that it is, felt better, shut my computer, went to the bathroom and walked out of the library and down the dark and frigid street to the coffee shop. Where I currently sit with my hot chocolate which was extra hot when I ordered it and is now tepid.
And still I feel a little stressed out about writing and so I am writing about writing and my sheer and utter avoidance of the one thing I was put on this earth to do. What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?
I think I need to go buy deodorant though because I forgot to put it on and I am supposed to meet my friends in an hour for coffee. Yes. I have to have deodorant. I’m wearing a wool-ish sweater. That’s a not-great combination for me and my sweating inclinations. So that’s top priority.