Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Solitary Sport

No matter how many people inspired you, how many sources you referenced, or how many people helped you to coax a whisper of an idea into words on a page, writing is more or less a solitary sport.

No one is going to sit with you while you chomp your fingernails down to nothing, while you stare at a blank screen for what feels like hours, while you rearrange your desk drawers, while you get up for a quick drink, while you bite the inside of your cheek, while you look at a post-it without really seeing it at all, while you pad over to the window (still in your pajama shorts and with a bun on the top of your head)...

No one, except for maybe your dog.

#1 On My "To Buy" List

Sometimes I'm overflowing with ideas and can't wait to write. This seems to happen about once every two weeks - and when it does I write furiously...six or seven blogs at a time. It's oddly cathartic. Writing takes a weight off, one paragraph at a time.

This is probably one of the reasons why my therapist wanted me to write in the first a time when I felt like I could do little more than cry and stare at my spiral notebook full of lists (Things to Stress About Today, Things to Worry About Soon, [Big Picture] Things to Really Panic About, etc.) for the entire hour.

It was incredibly easy to fill those lists. But the blank pages of a journal? Sometimes it's like someone has begun to slowly turn off a faucet. The gushing flood turns into a steady trickle, before becoming a periodic drip and then nothing at all.

Flukey Faucet

Feeling bone dry makes the prospect of sitting down to crank out words, string them together in coherent sentences, and form (hopefully) interesting prose incredibly unappealing.

Nevertheless, I love writing. I love writing in the same way that I had hoped to love math, economics, environmental studies, and French (and all the other ill-fitting majors I considered). I love writing in the same way that Brother #1 loves cars and loaves of bread, that Brother #2 loves running and traveling, that Brother #3 loves money and the market, that Mom loves birds and papery things, and that Pops loves real maple syrup and working in the barn.

Writing, the Old-Fashioned Way

The problem is, I don't quite know what to do about it. It's too late to be a journalism major or an English minor and still graduate on time. It's too late to get the "big internship" away from home the summer going into senior year (that would have hopefully led to a job offer after graduation) as I had planned. I don't know if I want to be an editor or an author. I don't know if I want to write a magazine column, an article, or a book. I don't even know  what I want to write about.

I'm anxious to know right this minute what my career path will be. I want to know how to get started - which seminars to attend, where to live, and who to contact. I want to know how to deal with rejection and how to get promoted. I want to know if you can truly make a living doing something that you love.

But most of all, I don't want to hear another already successful person say:
1. It's all about networking
2. Something will open up when you least expect it
3. It will all work out

1 comment:

  1. How about everything will unfold as it should? That is my favorite for you. You are a writer. Really. Just as you are. Breathe in breathe out and write!