This is my December post for Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG. To read more posts from other participants, click here.
This month, I typed the sentence above simply to get words on the page. The insecure writer in me was feeling pretty darn tested about coming up with a topic. Rather than stare at a blank screen, I decided to get a few words down. Even one sentence is better than a vast field of white, right?
In Making a Literary Life, author Carolyn See says of the practice of writing, “It’s a marriage, not a romance…”
She’s got it right. In the almost four years since I’ve made writing a dedicated focus, I’ve learned above all, the craft takes commitment. When I first start writing regularly, I was infatuated with my words. They moved me and made me laugh and swell up inside. I’m not kidding; I fairly twinkled with the delight of it. I read everything I wrote again and again, spending hours at the computer tweaking what I’d written. When I wasn’t writing, I yearned to be sitting at the desk, pounding out words.
That was the romance. Now, I’m in the marriage. I sit down for an hour and a half almost every morning and try to get some kind of writing in. On occasion, it’s as little as a concise, well written comment on someone’s blog. Other times, I crank out 650 words on a personal essay, a chapter edit on my current project, or a blog post like this one for IWSG. As with anything, the routine can feel stifling. It’s hard to do something over and over and over, and I wouldn’t be human if on occasion, the repetitive nature, the sheer demand of it didn’t get to me. Sometimes, I think about standing up and walking away. Sometimes I do. But I don’t go very far. The infatuation has been replaced by something more enduring.
Twenty-eight years ago, I walked down the aisle to my husband, having no idea of the ways in which life would test us. We were so joyful, so naïve in our happiness. But like every couple who remains together for a long time, we’ve journeyed through challenges and tears. But we wake up each morning together…knowing that the promise we made to each other lasts because we choose for it to...because life without each other would be so much less. And though now we sport crow’s-feet and grey hair and are so busy we can go for days before we really talk, I still look at him and think, I choose him and he chooses me. That’s the single best decision affecting my life.
That’s how I feel about writing. It’s not always a dozen roses and champagne. Sometimes it’s taking out the garbage. But regardless of the ups and downs, writing completes me in a way I can no longer live without. I’d only be failing myself if I quit. So when a blank page intimidates me and I wonder, “What is this all for?” I just start. I choose to write.