Sunday, January 27, 2008

I have a confession

I have a confession. I am a writer and, until recently, I wasn’t writing every day. I wanted to; I planned to; and it didn’t happen. I am not only a writer, I said defensively. I do other things and my day job sometimes starts before the sun rises and ends some twelve to fifteen hours later. Not that I get paid for every one of those hours; it includes driving from place to place which is unpaid, and searching for parking, and everything that goes with this type of work. Self-employment is grand and, sometimes, the hours required to make a few bucks are long.

But I digress.

Over and over I’ve heard that, in order to write, you have to write every day. Because of several failed attempts at daily writing, I committed to writing most days. Some weeks that worked and then, “most days” became, well, four days is a majority, right? Then it was, well, this week was only three, but that’s all I could do. Really. Then that slipped into thinking “maybe next week I can write.”

Several years ago I went through The Artists’ Way with a small group of friends. I did manage to do my morning pages every day and it was helpful. Then one day slipped, then two days. And soon, with a change of careers which meant going back to school, that was dropped. I thanked the Morning Pages for helping me find the new career and told them, “Tata for now, I’ll see you when I come out on the other side of this river of courses and cultural adjustments and have built my new career.” Which I assumed meant two years of college and maybe one to two years of getting established in the new profession.

That was thirteen years ago.

Over the last couple years, I started going to writing workshops and groups again. When I go, I write more. Not surprising, because it helps to be around people who assume I’m writing. I know it’s not really them holding me to my commitment, it’s me. But having a place and people to interact with keeps it higher on my priorities list.

Having a writing partner helps, as well. Two weeks ago I met with my writing buddy and he, fresh from a three week vacation in France, announced that we must Write Every Day. He was reading a book I gave him a couple months ago, which was touting the necessity of daily writing. Yeah, yeah, I agreed. If only we had the time. Yeah, he agreed. And we said we would try to write most days, when we could. We also share the other profession.

Three days later I started this blog. I awoke that day knowing it was time to stop saying, “I will” and change it to “I do.” For whatever reason, I have a blog ethic: if a person is going to do one, you have to keep it up. And for writing – that means to write.

This blog – in addition to my desire to share my experiences and inspirations with the hope they are useful to someone else – is my commitment to myself to write every day. Not everything I write is posted here. My other writing includes revisions, pieces of poems, freewrites from a spark of inspiration – and I’ve been visiting WordLush to gather the list from the Daily Word Spittoon and writing something from that. I have been posting those creations at The Writing Vein Playground.

When I let go of having to sit in one place and write at the same time every day for a specified amount of time or number of pages, guess what happened? I’ve been writing every day! Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, sometimes it’s two hours. Sometimes I’m working a new story or revising an old one. And sometimes it’s this blog and the word spittoon game.

Look folks, I’m writing!

"Black scribbler" by Dot. 1992
12" x 48" silk painting