Most of the last mornings as I’ve sat down to write I’ve wanted to describe what I want to write rather than write what I want to write. This week’s experience isn’t a virgin one.
Intially, and right up to the moment I crafted the first sentence above, I’ve worked to tamp this feeling down. I drive the desire from my mind and finger tips. I label it unproductive and and the spawn of my fears. Laying out what I want to write, telling you what I’m going to tell you, explaining my intentions prior to composing those intentions feels like failure.
Allow me to justify them anyway by talking about hunger. Every Lent since my Freshman year in college I’ve fasted for the first three days. No one told me too. I’m not starving myself because of my poor body image. I’m not even sure it’s really on the official list of options for the first three days of Lent in Rome. It’s just something that I wanted to try and that particular spiritual season over twenty years ago seemed like a good enough excuse. I’ll not go into the details, I’ll only say that day one you can’t think about anything but eating, day two you’re mostly caosting and amazed at the extra time on your hands, and day three is marked by lethargy and bargaining. It’s day three that applies here.
Writing about writing instead of writing the writing loses the bargain. It caves to the pressure wanting to write but not wanting to work. It asks, “Haven’t you written enough? Isn’t it time for a little break?” It pleads, “No creativity today. No fresh story. No new voice. No device. No. No. No.” But all that asking, all the pleading, all the bargaining resides in the same head as the will to do the work the right way.
Maybe this is a justification. Maybe the louder lazy voice wore me down. I’ll not deny that voice any longer, but I will reign it. I will guide it. I will bend it. From now on when I want to dodge I’m going to make it productive. I’ll turn the effort into an outline or I’ll hold myself to the outcome I’ve described.
Bleh. Good thing I wasn’t going for a St. Crispan’s Day speech.