I do not love writing. I love having written.
Writing is something I resist with every molecule of my being. And because I resist it so fiercely, I know this is what I need to do.
Because one of the things I really believe is that my resistance to writing represents my fear. My fear of facing the murk, of not being able to write to clarity, of being boring, of hard work.
Mostly I resist writing because it is hard. It is hard to face the way my mind works, or doesn’t.
But here is one thing I know for sure: I cannot think without a pen in my hand, or without my fingers free on a keyboard. I have a hard time keeping track of a line of thinking unless I can follow it with a pen or a series of keystrokes. I can’t just sit and ponder. I have to write.
I have to take a pen and start scribbling, or open up OmWriter and start talking to the little trees.
I need to string sentences together the way artists need to sketch.
I have to scribble in order and make sense of the jumble in my brain– the spaghetti mess.
It really does feel like my head is full of spaghetti most of the time. All these discreet lines of thought that weave and snake around each other. It is very interesting, all this mess, but there is no clarity.
So what I do when I write is the same thing I do when I pick up a fork and a spoon and begin to attack a plate of spaghetti.
I find one strand and then begin to twirl it around the fork, using the spoon to keep everything on the fork from slipping off.
When I get a forkful, I lift it to my mouth and then I can taste it. Digest it.
When I write I begin with one little sentence, and then keep twirling, word after word, sentence after sentence, each paragraph representing a manageable forkful of thoughts. And, using this method, I can sort out all the “spaghetti mess” of thoughts in my brain and find nourishment and sanity. .
When I am finished and read what I wrote, there is usually clarity in place of the twisted mess. It sometimes takes a long time to tease out clarity if my thoughts are particularly messy and entangled, and that’s why I need to write every day.
And if I do go too long without writing, and the spaghetti mess mounts up in my mind, I get really cranky, and irritable, and hard to live with.
It gets to the point where I can’t think at all. And all I do is consume media instead. Usually crappy media, too. And then I feel like an airhead, and forget why I ever thought writing was good for me in the first place.
Whereas if I write daily, I can not only keep the mess cleaned up, but I can also, sometimes, if I’m lucky, come to a place of relative emptiness—a clean plate, if you will, where there is no mess to clean up, and where there may now be space for new ideas to come in.
And that’s a good place to live.