…I like to have written. –Gloria Steinem
I shared that quote 5 years ago today on Facebook. And, man oh man, is it the truth.
Last month I threw away the physical manuscript of my work-in-progress. I should call it something else, because there’s been a lot of different works-in-progress since 2013, but nothing is getting done.
But earlier this year, I pulled out a paper copy of what I thought I should be working on, and started working on it again, and weeks later I chunked it in the recycling bin. It felt good. It felt bad. I have a digital copy of the work, so I didn’t really lose anything. If anything, it felt symbolic.
It’s hard to focus. There’s so much going on, right? Yeah, those are easy excuses, but I know that if a project can’t hold my attention, it isn’t the project I’m supposed to be working on right now. So I decided to take a break, even though I think the last 5 years have been just that, a long break.
Last month I turned 42. (See my last blog post about that.) The day after my birthday I picked up a Mead journal that I had started writing in last year right around my birthday, and I thought what the heck! Let’s do this. If a long-term fictional project can’t hold my attention, maybe journaling can. And it has.
I’ve been writing a page or two in the journal about every other day since. Mostly, I just write about my thoughts or what I did that day or watched on TV, or I write about the past. But I’m writing, and it feels so good because I’m writing for me. Small steps add up. I’m not worried about it being perfect. I’m not worried about what others will think. I’m just writing.
And that’s something I wish I’d been doing a long time ago, but I didn’t. I always romanticized the idea of keeping a journal or diary, but I think I was too worried about what I would write about. Or my life was too boring to write about at the time. And so there was a lot of stopping and starting. More stopping than starting really.
But something feels different about doing it now. It feels right and it feels good. And all I can think about is how I want to fill three or four of these journals by the end of the year! There’s 80 pages in a journal. That’s 160 to 240 pages by 2019! Like I said, small steps add up. I can do it.
It’s only been one month, to the date, since I started doing this but I feel like journaling helps to clear my mind. It really does. It’s made me think of
different better approaches to that work-in-progress that I think I should be working on.
I hate that it’s taken so long to tell this story, and that there’s been so many stops and starts, but I guess it wasn’t ready yet. But we’re getting there. When I think back to what it was about back when I first conceived the idea, it sounds horrible Over time I even changed the lead character from a man to a woman. Lately, a new character has popped up. We’re getting close…
For now, I am writing. For myself. And I’m having fun doing it.
Small steps do add up.
(The picture at the top of the post was taken on this day 5 years ago, on a walk in a park. No doubt, I was thinking about writing then too.)