It has been such a long time, I almost feel like my writing muscle has disintegrated. I need to remind myself how it feels to just put the words on the page, one after the other.
And, actually, it feels good. Like exercise after a long slump of laziness, it releases endorphins and my brain relaxes into its own rhythm. Oh, I know this feeling. I have felt this before. I see how this works. My hands know what to do. My brain knows what to do. I know this. I enjoy this. Why do I wait so long to come back to this, to come home?
This is how I find me, in the words on the page, in the motion of the keys tapping out my thoughts as they appear before my eyes, before they even form in my mind. This is how it feels.This is what I do. I write. I am a writer.
So why do I resist this? Why, every day, do I leave blank the tick box in my journal that indicates that I have made time, carved out space in my day, to do this? Actually, that last sentence is an injustice.
I have space in my day. I already made the space, months ago, when I decided to reduce my working hours, and before that, when I stepped down from my more senior role. So the time is there. The old “I just can’t fit it in” excuse has been redundant and sloppy for quite some time now. And the concept of fleeing from my own thoughts – an entirely valid suggestion – holds no sway now that I make time to meditate every day, first thing. (It has to be first thing, before the distractions of the day make a grab for me. You know, like tea. And Facebook.)
So I have no idea why I put this off. I am committing the cardinal journaling sin of asking a question and leaving it unanswered, for I find myself digging around for an explanation that simply does not seem to be there. I have the time, I have the motivation (I have just signed up for a Masters in Creative Writing for the sheer love of it – surely that is incentive in itself, and evidence of my alleged love for this activity?). Yet still I persist in not persisting. Why?
I am not alone in this phenomenon. Someone I know well once talked to me about viewing sex as a chore, an item on the to-do list. Ditched in favour of… washing up. Or building Lego. Or just doing some sitting. “And even though I know full well that I will have a jolly nice time once we get going, well… y’know… getting going. It’s hard work isn’t it?”. Yup.
But here’s the thing – once you “get going” (and it is important to specify that I am returning to the idea of writing here – I don’t really want to explore the sex metaphor. I’m kind of sorry I brought it up), once you get going you remember why you do it, and you forget why you resist it. So, I guess I am – sitting here, laptop on, well, lap-top, typing merrily – fighting a losing battle. Because, in this moment, as I tap away at the keys, I am immersed in the world of my writing, and I cannot for the life of me ever imagine why I don’t just want to pack up and live here. I think the only way to remember my reasoning for not doing so is to actually stop writing. To stop for long enough to keep putting it off again.
Trouble is, I really, really don’t want to!