I’m sitting at my keyboard. It is a day off from my regular job and I have the house to myself. Instrumental music is filling my ears (I’m one of those writers that tends to need a little bit of sound or music to keep me going. Today I’ve been using old Bela Fleck albums.) I should be a perfect time to just get some words on paper.
And usually that is just what happens. I can jut sit down and force myself to get a story out. Sure, it is also very common that the first 100-300 words are pretty much garbage that get thrown away or at least taken care of in the re-writing stage. But after that there are enough juices flowing, the pump is primed, and I am well on my way to actually writing.
I’m a slow writer. Maybe. I don’t know. What I am is a writer that works a few jobs besides writing and also wants tone an active father and husband. I know that isn’t a rarity, and that some writers are able to do all that plus more and still crank out a fe novels a year.
I’m not there yet. I wish I were. But I’m not. What I can do, usually, is sit in front of my computer and just start writing. I don’t need to wait for inspiration. If I did that, I would do nothing but wait and nothing would ever get written. So I buckle down and start writing. I swear at myself not to waste anymore time, I get those fingers moving and force the words to slow, and soon the words start to come all by themselves.
And that is a good time. Getting words on the page is a good day. Some days I get down better words, words that will last until the project is finished. Sometime those words are just placeholders until, at varying parts in the journey, I find the right words, better words. Still, Just getting words on paper, even placeholder words, makes it a good day for writing.
Today has not been a good day.
Today the words haven’t shaken loose.
And I know a major reason why. I’ve gotten lazy. I’ve stopped forcing those words out on a regular basis. It’s been a while since I’ve made writing daily a part of my life. Sure, I’ve been writing at least weekly Especially when there is a deadline. But I’ve let myself off the hook when it comes to the daly grind.
Sure, I’ve had reasons, and some of those reasons are arguably good ones. I’m a better father when I ignore my writing and make sure I get those hours in with my young son. I’m a better husband when I use that time to wash an extra load of dishes, or just do anything to straighten up around the home. I exercise to keep my health from getting any worse. And that goes beyond the time that needs to go into my actual work of teaching at an elementary school. And all of those are good things. Proper things. Responsible things. But they aren’t writing. They aren’t something I want to (need to) succeed at but they are essential. And after all that time spent fulfilling my other duties, my mind is tired.
So, I let myself off the hook. I let myself relax and read and play games or with TV. I may only have an hour of me time, and why add extra stress by trying to write? There isn’t any rush. Just relax. You deserve it.
But here I am. Rested. I have time. But now I’m, just staring at the screen trying not to hate myself and that I am relatively in the same place as a creator now as I was last month, six months, a year ago. All those time wasters that are also hailed as being essential to form an authors brand (Facebook, instagram, twitter) they just remind me that I am small and very people see the words that I spend hours and hours and hours putting in the right places.
I stare at the blank page and even more than the words not coming, is the growing feeling that even if the right words do come, will it really even matter? Who am I to think that anyone cares about the words I have to offer the world. It doesn’t even matter if i convince myself that I am good enough, skilled enough.
Look out there. Look at what is popular. Don’t stop at the written word, look at what is collectively consumed. Does it look like the world is currently looking for things that are good? How much of what is out there, that is written, that is spoken, do you, do YOU think is honestly that good? Go on. Tell me.
And I stare at that still blank page as i go to answer the question that I asked myself.
I admit it. There is so much out there that… It just isn’t for me. I don’t like it. I can’t tell myself that a lot of things are that good. I want it to be better.
And, strangely, that makes me feel better. And it isn’t because I think I am better (well, maybe a little, but if I didn’t feel a little that way would I even have this blog?). What I think is that I have a voice and no one is better at using my voice than me. And I honestly think that when people hear my voice, the voice of my stories, they will like it. And that they will respond.
I write for me. I write for what I would like and I hope that there are people out there who feel the same way. That like the things that I do. And I don’t think they my interests and my likes are that unique. So the question shifts. It is no longer about being good enough. Just as I know that I can always be better and that I need to strive to become better I also know that even just as I am, I am good enough.
The real challenge is just finding the people who don’t know that they are looking for me. That don’t know that they want to hear my voice.
And, no, I don’t know how to do that. Not yet.
But when I do find them, I want to be ready. i want to have stories waiting for them. And the only way to do that is to start working. Start writing.
I feel lighter. My soul feels lighter. It’s a different story.
It’s one that I’m writing. One word after another.
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