On Not Writing

November 9, 2017 § 44 Comments

Happy children! Loud happy children!

This is the blog post I didn’t write because it was a terrible idea. So why even start?

This is the blog post I didn’t write because the ceiling was leaking.

This is the post I didn’t write because I couldn’t figure out the coffeemaker and then I knocked it over.

This is the post I didn’t write because jet lag.

This is the post I didn’t write because the goddamn neighbor’s goddamn TV is so goddamn loud I can make out words through the wall.

This is the post I didn’t write because Facebook made me mad. And sad.

This is the post I didn’t write because I sat down and then the doorbell rang.

This is the post I didn’t write because I’d rather take a walk and self-care is important.

This is the post I didn’t write because don’t force it.

This is the blog post I half-assed through before deadline and I can always put it in Drafts and write something better, at some other time, when my mood and surroundings will be perfect.

This is the free-form piece I begrudgingly typed because even poorly chosen words I will later delete count and I can tick it off in my Productive app and the app will make a pleasing sound like Pavlov’s Writer.

This is the morning I should feel lucky and privileged to get to write while lots of other people go to real jobs and do real things like grown-ups.

Goddamn that TV is loud.

This is the blog post I’m forcing myself to write while children play ball and shriek in Spanish in the schoolyard my Airbnb backs up to.

This is what I am writing instead of the grant proposal I promised to write, instead of the novel I should be working on, instead of the memoir proposal I should also be working on, instead of just freeing myself to write anything in my notebook and open many doors and explore details more thoroughly like my respected teacher told me to.

This is me writing instead of nudging the teacher for feedback on the manuscript I sent even though I warned him it was really bad.

This is the writing I do through self-doubt and worry and too many things on my list. This is the writing I do instead of knocking on the wall and telling the neighbor to please, please turn it down even just a little. This is the writing I do before I go buy a sticky pad and leave a passive-aggressive post-it on their door. This is the writing I do because yes, I’m lucky and yes, it’s not coal-mining and yes, lots of people think they want this life of staying in a cool fun neighborhood in London all by myself with nowhere I have to be on time, because the price of having the life you want is living the life you have.

This is the blog post that says you are not alone in your bad mood and imperfect surroundings and terrible ideas. That I am not alone in sadness and jet lag and irritation and the antsy pull to get out of the chair and do something, anything else. To get out of my life and do something else, except there is nothing else I want to do as much as I want to write and not writing is worse than writing (not by much).

This is checking my tool box and wondering where the secret tool that makes it easy is. This is suspecting everyone else has the secret tool and they’re all only pretending it’s hard so I don’t feel bad.

This is ridiculous envy.

This is the typing before the writing starts, the typing or scribbling or concentrated thinking without an electronic device, the commitment to sit down and write, whether or not it sucks. This is moving the fingers or the pen on an empty tank and hoping the act of moving will make it full. This is watching the word count tick up past the imposter mark.

This is facing the empty page today and knowing it will be there again tomorrow.

This is saying, come get me empty pages. I’m not ready but I’m here anyway.

This is writing anyway.

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Allison K Williams is Brevity’s Social Media Editor. Of course the neighbors turned the TV off when she finished. Like, on literally the very last goddamn word.

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