When I can’t sleep, I write. Last night, I composed a litany of things I should say, or would like to say, or could never say, and put them on paper, in my head. I do this often; several times a week. A few years back, a writing coach of mine asked a small group of us how we knew we were writers. I had no answer for this question; in fact, the very idea caused my head to reel. Who was I to put ideas out there in space, and who would be wild enough to read them once they were edited, published, and made ready for a consuming public? I didn’t have any original ideas. I had the occasional turn of phrase that I thought interesting, or funny, but I had no illusions there were thousands of people more experienced than I was, with more interesting things to say. Here’s my attempt at an answer to his question.
It comes to this. I write because I do. A writer writes. Sometimes I’m a thinker, and the ideas never make it to a page. It’s been slightly over 7 months (today is the 200th day of the year!), and this is my 126th post; roughly 65,000 words written. Most of those words are short, but I’m proud of every one of them.
Writing isn’t easy. Most mornings I want nothing more than to ignore this blog and do something less mentally demanding. I usually won’t post anything on weekends. I write better first thing in the morning; if I wait until noon, I know my writing day is finished. Wow. I even have writing habits.
Did you know I actually dream about writing? In my mind, I think “I have to get this thought down…” or “This novel would sell!” and I sit at a computer and begin to compose. This happens one or two times a week when I’m in a daily writing mode; more often if I’m not (it’s probably subconscious feelings of guilt attacking me from my dreams). It’s like a creepy mind-fairy telling me to get my pen to the paper and put something down.
I have no brilliant words to say about it all. Some people exercise in the morning. Some people kick back three cups of coffee. What I’ve dedicated to do is logging my thoughts in this blog. Often they’re religious/theological. Sometimes they’re about my family, or reminiscences of old schools. Occasionally they’re just quotes or silly turns of phrase.
But they’re mine, and mine alone, these things. Even if they’re controversial or stupid or small-minded, they’re mine, and I’m proud of them. Of course I’m even more proud if they’re brilliant, but that tends to be a much more rare occurrence.
I came to Virginia thinking I would be a writer, and it turns out I was one all along, except for the actually sitting down and doing it. This blog was my New Year’s Resolution, and so far, with only a few glitches, I’ve kept to it. I write in a public forum because it holds me accountable. people on diets have accountability groups; people who exercise have running partners, and weightlifters have spotters. Writers have, essentially, nobody, unless they can find a reader. It’s an agreement between reader and writer. Without you, I can’t get feedback. Without feedback, I have little desire to put anything to paper. So here I am, this 200th day of the year, and I write. Yesterday marked the 8,100th view of my blog. Thank you for holding me to my end of the bargain by reading what I post, even when you don’t like my words on a particular day. I know you’re there, silently cheering for me.