Making words happen

It’s been over a week now since my old job ended.  Last week I effectively treated as vacation, wandering around my house in pajamas, sleeping a lot, keeping strange and sometimes ridiculous hours, only doing the things that really had to be taken care of.  I needed the break, and I’m glad I took it.  This week, I’m starting to feel like it’s time to set to, time to get to work.  Time to do something.  If only figure out what to do!

Something that I’ve been saying for a long while now, since just about the beginning of this blog, is that I am claiming an identity as a writer.  I’ve been rediscovering my skills and joy in the process of writing, and have been wondering if my next career step will be as a writer, or at least have a strong writing component.  Maybe I can claim for myself a career identity as a writer, as well as the personal identity I’ve been shaping.

The key thing is that I haven’t actually been pursuing writing in a serious fashion … not all the time, and especially not when things have been hard.  That’s okay, I’m not kicking myself today for past actions.  But I also know I have a penchant for thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if” about stuff that I want to do, or having some small initial success at a thing, but then not pushing on, not continuing the work of growing and getting better.  That’s a limiting habit.

Yesterday I pulled Steven Pressfield’s wonderful, pointed little book The War of Art off my shelf for a re-read.  Pressfield’s main point is that making art is work — in fact, making or doing any worthy thing is work, hard work, and there’s something in us that doesn’t want to do it.  We avoid, we shirk, we distract ourselves in countless ways, to avoid facing up to the hard work of what we really want to do.  Our distraction damages us, it bends our spirits and blunts our skills.  The only way to avoid this is to face up to the work we need to do, and do it.  No matter how scared we are, no matter how uncertain, do the work.  Start and continue and keep going until it’s done — and then start the next thing, and keep going.

The thing I’m thinking today, in relation to this is: if I really want to be a writer, then I need to write.  I need to make words happen, or else I’m not really a writer.  Good or bad or indifferent words, big words or little words, worthy words or forgettable words, doesn’t matter.  The work of a writer is to make words happen, to string them together and pick and choose and follow where the words lead and chase them down to bring back again.  That’s the work.

Am I making words happen?  I haven’t been doing it as consistently as I want to, or I think I want to.  I haven’t been doing it enough to be content that I’m doing the work a writer does.  So today, I’m thinking about how to change that.

For the next two weeks, until the end of February, I’m going to write something here every day.  Big or little, worthy or forgettable, I’m going to put words here, where other people can see them and hold me accountable if I don’t keep up.  I’m a little bit scared of not being able to do it, of forgetting or putting it off or otherwise failing, but I don’t want to let that keep me from trying.  Not this time.  Whether or not I discover I want to work as a writer, I need to at least give it an honest enough try to find out if it’s what I want.  So, here we go.

Watch this space.  New words coming soon.


1 comment so far

  1. Lynn on

    Life is work. And for all that we need a day off now and then, working away at life most days is so worthwhile. Keep writing; we all want to see what emerges.

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