Can't Take It With You
Like a lot of writers I know, I prefer to write first thing in the morning. Whether I’m working on a story or an essay, everything I write is like its own journey, with its own path, its own obstacles, and its own destination. I may wander a bit aimlessly some days, I may become lost, but these journeys are not for mere sightseeing. These are journeys of discovery, and though I am not always sure what I’m looking for, I must be committed to finding it. Which is why the morning is the best time for me to write. There are no competing journeys yet in my consciousness first thing in the morning. I have drawn no conclusions yet about my day other than I will begin it by writing. From this neutral place, there is nothing I must set aside to begin or resume my journey, there is only remembering why I began it.
Later in the day, however, when I find time to write these blogs, there is always much I have to set aside before I can begin. Before I can begin I have to set aside all conversations I wish I’d finished differently; I have to set aside all the emails and articles I’ve read and all the news they’ve carried; I have to set aside the stories I’ve begun telling myself about the people I disagree with; I have to set aside grievances and disappointments which can accumulate quickly once I join the world.
I do not always want to do this. The day has begun to mean something to me. I want to air my grievances and seek a little retribution. I want to share news and hear stories about the world. I want to take a tally of what this day is worth. All these things have to be laid on the ground if I’m to begin even the little journey that is a 400-word essay. When I stand at the edge of a blank page, all these things seem so real. They can’t simply be set aside by something so effortless as a choice – they must be undone, answered, finished. Yet as soon as I choose that first step, as soon as my attention is on that new path, all that seemed important has vanished, and the world is mine again.
Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.