Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
What do I do? Or not do? Everything and nothing. Life and laundry and dinner and work and simply not taking the time. Once upon a time I wrote. I wrote my thoughts and journal entries and stories and quips. Whatever came to mind I recorded. Now not so much. I could leave it at the fact that I’ve got other things going on and writing, even though it’s important to me and is something I enjoy, doesn’t make the top 10 on my to-do list. But that’s just because I don’t put it in the top ten. I don’t even put it in the top 100.
So why don’t I? Because of fear and insecurities. That I’m not good enough. That I’ll reveal too much. Really, do you want to know what I really think? Do I want to read on ink and paper or on screen the thoughts that are buried deep in my mind? I recently found my diary from high school. I only read a few pages and I wanted to burn the whole thing. There I was all alone in the family room reading my girlish loopy cursive from 15 years ago wanting to cringe. It was so painfully embarrassing that I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading it. If I want to burn that innocent teenage diary now, there’s no telling what I’ll want to do to my current writings 15 years down the road.
In all my worry and self-doubt and comparing I forget that nothing is perfect. That writing can be an exercise, an experience, a therapy session, an outlet, an alternate reality. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else but me. I’m not setting out to write the next Great American Novel. It’s okay if I read something in 15 years and want to burn it. It can be for the moment and not for posterity.
So the question is, can I eliminate the things that stop me from writing? Of course I can. I’m the only one stopping myself.