So I found out that I got okayed by Speakeasy... which means I need to act like I'm really disciplined about writing on here. It may also mean that I WILL be more disciplined, as I have a direct incentive to do so: FREE BOOKS! Always a win. Much love to Jenny for the referral.
Of course I've sat here for a few minutes now, wondering what to write about, as I pretend that I write all the time. Two or three people this week have made some sort of, "Well, you're a writer, you know what I'm talking about..." comment, and I keep wanting to correct them. Being a writer isn't really very figurative--you either write or you don't, you either are or you aren't. And, when I get real about it, I don't. I'm not.
I used to write all the time. I couldn't stop. I wrote constantly for school, but would often need to backburner an assignment because my need to write--yeah, I said it--took me in a different direction, and I would scrawl out poetry or short prose from the front desk of the library until I got off from work. I would read what I'd written on my walk home, and then I'd burn the midnight oil to finish whatever actual, real assignment I had. I was a writer, above all other behavioral definitions. Third only to Christian and Romantic, I have always considered myself a writer foremost. But lately... Nothing. Why?
Sure, I "write" all the time: work emails, sales sheets, marketing copy. But that doesn't count and I know it. I've lost the habit, the discipline of it, and it seems oversimple to say that it's that easy but it is. When I do write now--writing for real, to borrow the title of a book from work--it takes an effort that it didn't before. There is no automatic flow, there is no surprise at the way words have flown from brain to paper or screen with a speed and subconscious grace that used to be normal. There is pondering now. Scratching out. Rethinking. Crumbling up and throwing away. There is expectation of excellence and a reality of... less than that. And it's all part of the process, and blah blah blah, but it's irksome--that's really the best word for it.
It's not painful, the way not-writing used to be painful. It doesn't build up as pressure in my head or a tremor in my hand. It can be backburnered now, with "real" work taking priority. It can be ignored and forgotten for weeks at a time. This is the thing that I thought would be my life's passion, my career and my calling, my bread on the table and my pat on the back. This thing, I can let die like the plants on my back step: shriveled and skinny and parched because I never look at them, let alone care for them.
I miss it. I miss having that Thing. The "Oh, I work in marketing, but my real passion is---" Thing. All the great characters have that line. And I used to. Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to this: I really do love my job, more than I ever expected to love the 9-5 thing. I expected--planned--to do something to earn the rent, and then hurry home to do what I love. And so when I thoroughly enjoy doing what I do at work, does that change what I can do at home? I would trust the answer is no--but my life says otherwise.
There are basic ways to shift this back into gear. Again, it's not complicated. More time reading and less on Netflix. More time sitting down in front of the blank page and pushing through the door of "that's not important enough." Getting plugged in to a group of writers. None of these things are hard, or expensive, or sacrificial.
So why don't I do them?
Step 1: Going public. Accountability--which is an awfully fancy word for requesting a guilt trip--can go a long way. So I'm publicizing this a little more than usual.
So if you're new to my bloggy-blog, HI. Welcome. Take a look around. Comment. And make me feel like a jerk if I haven't written in the next 3 days. (That goes for you, too, regulars.) Seriously. A jerk.