Writing Practice

Each week as Friday morning draws near, I try to remain calm and patient. And wait. The Good Lord will pass a sentence or phrase or memory through my gray matter Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning and I’ll know that is the start of my weekly post. Perhaps I’ll hear my Dad say, “Don’t put your whole weight down,” or the fact that I need a nap more than anything, will lead me to write about the best nap I ever had.

“You tell me,” I said to the fine shimmering August afternoon air. “I promise I will write 500-750 words on it and post it.”

My maker and I had a sort of summit August 17th this past year about this writing thing. I was sitting at the table on the lawn. My notebook, pen and coffee were at the ready.

“I don’t want to waste your time or my time,” I said. “I want to really do this, but I think we need to build trust in each other.”

So often in the past I have started an ambitious writing project and too soon I think of the enormity of the task I’ve set. The daunting thought of the hours and hours that I will spend alone scratching away in my notebook, the creeping worry that I’m wasting my time invoke a sort of lassitude that soon turns to despair and a slow crumbling of the project. And then the next project comes along, and crumbles a little sooner.

Why would a muse continue to visit such poor company? Lassitude and despair? Please.

Or to use an analogy from football, about which I know little, you throw the ball to the player who’s going to take it and run.

If the player sighs and thinks a lot and balks at how many yards he or she has to run, worries about the critics waiting to tackle him, is deeply affected by the energy of the spectators, you aren’t going to give that player the ball.

“You’ve given me a lot of good material over the years and I’ve fumbled the ball,” I said, avoiding eye contact and gazing into my coffee.

“You have absolutely no reason to trust me with another chunk of material,” I said. “You’ve told me some beautiful things and nine times out of ten I wrote them in a notebook and shoved it on a shelf.”

No trust.

“You’ve told me I’m supposed to be writing and then you don’t give me enough confidence to share it.”

Of all the pleas going up that August day in 2021, it’s embarrassing the amount of time I monopolized with my whining and bargaining.

“So let’s do this: you give me something small, something we both know I can handle and I will follow through.”

A bit of dialogue came to me. No, wait, first, I see from my notes I wrote three pages of affirmations. Three pages. And then a bit of dialogue came to me and I tucked it into the cradle of my arm and ran all the way to you.

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