One. Writing, the act of sitting down with whatever medium you choose to memorialize those words, is a solitary act. For me it’s extremely solitary. I idealize the coffee shop routine. When I think of the quintessential writer, I imagine dark black frames, an overpriced latte, and a corner spot with furious typing while people chat and drink coffee all around me. I’ve tried this. Many times. It never works. Power cord drama, a steady stream of mispronounced names, and my personal guilt for occupying a table nursing one coffee [leading to me buying many coffees and becoming a real-life human jitterbug] leads to a ton of great blogging ideas, but, fiction writing, not so much. So lately, I’ve taken to writing upstairs in my bedroom. It’s nothing fancy. An old plastic table and plastic chair from years ago is the stand-in until I find a desk I love but my homemade chai and the view from the window of our neighborhood from atop our hill? Something about this works for me. Something about this makes me write. It’s not sleek, stylish, or sexy. But it works. And when it comes to writing, what works, is what matters.
Two. Our garbage disposal died last week. It went out with a literal bang taking the dishwasher, kitchen sink and accompanying plumbing along with it. With a household that goes through dishes at an astonishing rate, this definitely prolongs my time in the kitchen what with the hand washing and hand drying in our secondary sink and taking exquisite care not to let little food bits down plumbing not equipped for said food bits. It’s annoying for the lets get it done so I can do something else part of me, but for the writer part? This is the best thing that ever happened to me. For forty-five minutes every day, I’m soaping, scrubbing, rinsing and drying. For forty-five minutes, the kids play with their dad and nothing distracts me. For forty-five minutes my mind wanders, and in this stream of consciousness, ideas form. Plot problems resolve. Road blocks part. Solutions suddenly crystal clear. Growing up when I complained of boredom, my father always reminded me that a little boredom is a good thing. He’s right. The creative mind must have time to wander. And in order to have wandering, one must get bored. In our smart-phone hyper-connectivity era, boredom mind-wandering is more limited than it ever was before but through this lost art of hand-washing my dishes I’m rediscovering this sacred time. Our garbage disposal will be fixed by Saturday, but I will be hand washing dishes from now on.
Three. This year I promised myself to write daily. To that end I participate in a daily hashtag on twitter #wewrotetoday where we share our daily writing goals to motivate each other and ourselves. I wasn’t certain I would write daily but there is power in intention and in setting aside that time to follow through with it. Making time daily to write gives the intention weight. It makes it matter. And somehow daily, despite all that remains undone, I write. And each day I write, writing gets easier. Set aside the time. And do it. Writing, I am learning, is both as mysterious, and as simple as this. As Anne Lammott says, No one cares if you write, so YOU have to. And in setting aside my sacred time to write, I am caring, and by caring? Beautiful things are happening.
Broken dishwashers, plastic writing tables, and daily writing. A good Thursday if ever there was one. Hope you are having a beautiful Thursday too!