So much for writing every day, huh?
I could feel badly about it but I don't. Or, at least, I won't. Because you know what? Life happens.
Other assignments and work you committed yourself to- commitments that actually pay a few bills- happen. Kids get sick (and stay sick). You get sick (and stay sick). You travel. Your husband travels. You take your kids to the zoo. Your infant decides it's a good time to grow more teeth (pesky asshole bastards.) You drink too much wine while binging on old episodes of Scandal, episodes you swore you'd never watch because you likened it to drinking the Thursday Night kool-aid and, goddammit, you're better than that. (You are not better than that.) You go to the gym to "work out" only to lay on the mat and pretend to stretch for forty-five minutes and get approached by three different personal trainers because you obviously appear to "need some help in the motivation department."
But, there are also the other times, the inevitable and far too frequent occasions every writer fears, the occasion you find you have absolutely nothing to say.
Blankness where there should be words.
Empty word clouds.
You become frustrated, of course. You're convinced that writer's block is the universe giving you the finger. But instead of writing to meet some arbitrary quota you set for yourself in the hopes of following through for the first time in, I don't know, ever-- the exact thing you promised yourself you wouldn't do because quantity bears no heavier weight than quality in the World of Word virtues you live in-- you don't.
You wait. You sit in front of a blank computer screen and. you. wait.
And you wait.
And you wait some more.
While you wait, you wonder if the words will ever come. You wonder why the words won't come even though the thoughts are there. Those fucking thoughts keep you up at night but are the cock-block of the literary world, never delivering the goods they promise you at two a.m..
You wait until you have something to say. You wait until the words flow and it feels once again therapeutic instead of stressful, no longer making a mockery of the one single talent you claim to possess. And then, after you've waited and wondered and waited some more, you find yourself sitting in the dark one early morning writing while everyone else dreams.
You drink your coffee and you write feverishly, your fingers tapping manically. You feel an abundant sense of relief. You breathe wholly and deeply, feeling the mental muscle memory kicking in. Your shoulders feel lifted, even in that all-too-familiar-hover-over-the-keyboard slouch you would stay in forever as long as the words keep coming.
You write all the words that have been bottled up for the past two or three weeks driving you completely mad-- the words that couldn't manage to escape from your brain without making not a damn bit of sense. You remember how good it feels to find just the right word or words. You, once again, realize that you don't know how not to write, and your fears of not ever having anything to write about ever again are emphatically shushed.
Ironically, you find yourself writing about writing.
You write more.
Then you laugh out loud at how often you, figuratively speaking, beat the shit out of yourself for not doing et. al. You laugh because somewhere deep inside of you, within the marrow of your bones, you know that you try your absolute best. You accepted long ago that your best is almost always good enough. But, just like the Type-A tyrant that bubbles beneath your psyche's surface, threatening to show her stress-zit covered face, scratching through a To-Do-List item is embarrassingly life affirming.
It says, "Look at me! I did the things! See that scratch? Those scratchES!!! I did ALL the things. Yes, I sure did! You go, girl. Fist bumps. High fives. Butt slap-and-grabs. YOU DID ZE FINGS. You wrote something-- anything-- because you said you were going to write. Good motherfucking job. Salute me, To Do's!"
You know... it's very likely that I shot myself in the foot when I said (I promised, actually) that I would write EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. If that's not setting oneself up for failure, I'm not sure what is. It's not because I don't want to because I very much do. It's has nothing to do with finding the time to write because I make time a priority for the things I want and need to do.
I failed because writing doesn't always work this way. At least, not for me and my kind of writing. It doesn't work for the kind of writing that has no purpose other than being written because I wanted it to be. And since this is a personal capsule of words, that's the only writing I plan on doing here.
So, maybe I won't write every day. Maybe my inner Tracy Flick will just have to sit the fuck down for a bit and accept that failure isn't always losing. If failure helps me figure IT all out a little bit more, then I'm fine with that.
I hope you are, too.