Why I’m Writing Today (Even Though I Don’t Want To)
I didn’t want to write this blog post.
I didn’t want to write anything today. I haven’t wanted to write anything for the last few weeks.
I have a Scrivener project minimized in my taskbar, a half-written novella whining for some TLC. I know exactly what’s going to happen in the next scene, right down to dialogue and action beats. So I’m not ignoring it because of “writer’s block”, or some other traditional and proper writerly excuse.
I just plain don’t feel like putting my fingers on the keyboard and pulling words out of my brain. It’s easier to click minimize, roll a Spotify playlist, and open Tetris. At my command, multicolored bricks eliminate rows of other multicolored bricks with a satisfying clacking sound, and my brain goes comfortably numb to the sound of Roo Panes or Andy Gullahorn.
In this square box on my screen, nothing is expected of me other than to rotate L-shaped bricks and make things fit. Pure geometry. Order. Click clack.
At least, that would be the easy thing. And I admit, I’ve succumbed more than once. But not every time. In fact, quite recently I’ve done more writing than I have in a long while.
Have I enjoyed myself? About as much as I would enjoy performing an amputation on my own pinkie toe with a spoon. And then smearing out a story with the resulting blood. The process isn’t fun, and doesn’t even look that pretty when I step back to look at it. I grit my teeth and go back to work with the spoon regardless.
Questions that have passed through my head recently: What’s wrong with me? Aren’t I supposed to be a Writer? Aren’t I supposed to be enjoying this? Am I broken or something?
I feel guilty for not having fun with this. For not finding joy in these words like I usually do. And then I wonder if I’ve been fooling myself this whole time, if this writing-stories thing was a whim or temporary distraction, not a lifelong passion. And if so, what do I do with my life? Where do I go? If I end up on the streets, broke and homeless, will I be able to grow an adequate beard in the absence of shaving cream and razors?
Existential crisis. More Tetris. I weigh out coffee beans, bolster my psyche with ultra-strength french press, and lead a half-hearted charge back into my novella.
Five hundred more words. I hate everything. I thought coffee was my friend, I thought it understood me, but it has abandoned me, retreating to a pathetic pale brown ring around the bottom of my mug and taking the taste buds at the end of my tongue with it. I check the mug at intervals to see if it has magically replenished.
I have written two thousand words, and decide that torture can be over for tonight, at least. Laptop goes on the floor, I go in bed. I pull the covers over my head and see descending Tetris blocks on the inside of my eyelids.
On day like this, when I would rather do almost anything than write, maybe it’s more important than ever that I get behind my keyboard. If I lose this battle, it’ll be easier to lose it tomorrow. And then the next time, maybe I won’t even bother fighting.
I’m a writer. It’s not just a primal urge or a gift I was born with, it’s a decision.
Like love, or life. There will be days I don’t want to love the person I’m married to. There will be days I don’t want to get out of bed and face what life has coming for me. On those days, I hope that I try to love harder than I did the day before. I hope that I jump out of bed with iron determination to meet life past the halfway mark.
I hope that before too long, I’ll be having fun with my writing again. Until then, I’m going to stick to my guns and keep making these words happen.