July 24, 2018
It’s 5:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s quiet here now. The remodeling next door went on until well past 10:00 last night. The barometric pressure is crashing so my ears are ringing and my skin feels itchy and raw. The coffee tastes off. Maybe I should switch to tea. Or whiskey. Mickey is making laps around and around my monitor, into my lap, on my keyboard, on the desk, behind the monitor, back to my lap. She’s restless, too.
I’m agitated and irritable and feel like eating everything that’s not nailed down. I understand right now why writers are often drinkers and druggies. It’s not easy, facing the page.
But I’m here. I showed up. I don’t even know why.
Why do we do these things, these creative things? I know people, truly persistent people, who have been doing their art for most of their lives. My brother started playing piano when he was, what, 4? And now he’s approaching 60 and still gets excited about learning a new role or putting a different spin on an old aria. Persistent people. Artists. You might be one of them.
Why do we do this? It doesn’t really feel that great, to be honest, to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., make the coffee, sit in front of a computer and put one word after another after another after another on the screen. It would feel better to go back to bed and try to squeeze in another hour or two of sleep before I have to go to work. It would feel better to go for a walk or do some yoga or watch a few episodes of Poirot or mindlessly scroll through Facebook. Or eat everything that isn’t nailed down.
Why am I here? Do you care? I know you think I’m crazy, working on these books that will probably never be published, plugging away for years, learning the craft, honing the skill, learning persistence. I know you must be bored to tears of me, yammering on and on about my writing, my novels, the existential angst of it all.
I’m bored to tears of me.
Sometimes, I think about giving up.
But I love it. I love it like you love your children who are irritating and difficult a lot of the time. I love it like you love your spouse who isn’t anywhere close to perfect and probably snores and smells bad. I love it like you love your car that wouldn’t start yesterday but you wouldn’t dream of selling. I love it like you love tattoos. I love it like you love your guns. I love it like you love your church. I love it like you love money.
And when you love something, you commit to it. I am committed to this path.
I’m going to keep showing up. I’m going to keep recording my goals and accomplishments and boring number of words I wrote today and yes, my butt was in my chair, and blah blah blah. You should probably leave this group. It’s only going to get more boring.
But then, maybe, one day, I’ll post about how my agent sold my science fiction/horror series to a publisher. That’s the dream. I hope you’re still around for that day. I hope you haven’t died of boredom.
(Post written for our Creative Accountability Facebook group.)