I’ve sat in from of an empty page for almost a half hour now. The heels of my hands have been parked on my laptop just below the keys and my fingers have hovered above them, ready to strike the moment an idea did.
I can’t tell you how often this happens. Above all other activities I consider a part of capital-M “Me”, writing is the most dreaded and difficult. I studied Philosophy and English in college and writing essays was a way of life, but somehow, I’ve never really been inoculated from the pains a blank page brought to me.
Now, you might ask me “If it is so painful and terrible, why do you see writing as a part of ‘you’?”, and you’d be painfully right for saying so. The answer isn’t some kind of artistic-martyr bleeding for his craft. I don’t think that I’m doing the world a favour or serving the muses in any particularly meaningful way. In fact, I fully expect that most of the coherent thoughts I manage to string together will mean very little to anyone but me.
I think the idea of “being someone who writes” has always carried with it for me a lot of other virtues that I value highly. It seems like everyone I look up to either kept journals or wrote religiously, and I think it’s immaterial whether it was a contributing factor or a byproduct of their success. Virtues and good habits cluster together like good people do. Good friends and colleagues depend on one another to support and push each other forward, and the same can be said of the habits and activities do.
Have you ever heard the expression, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”? Busy people have a reputation for getting things done because they spend their days doing just that. I want to be a person who is known for and who knows in himself that he can get things done, and much like working out, forcing myself to write gives me a platform to prove to myself on a consistent basis that I can do difficult things if I just commit to doing the work.
I stared at this page for a half hour before writing. At the core of it, I was afraid to start because I didn’t have an idea loaded and ready to deploy onto the page. But, inevitably, as soon as I mustered the courage to just start, the rest flowed out of me and I haven’t even looked up. It’s like turning on a faucet. A faucet doesn’t push water out- it just gets out of the way for the water to flow naturally as it wills.
Our body (or in this case, my fingers on the keyboard) are what was blocking my inner creative from saying what it wants. Most of the time, there’s nothing stopping us except ourselves.