#62 Ain't About What's Waiting on the Other Side
I number my posts because, in 2019, I vowed that I would write 100 essays over the course of the year. I figured that would be an easy goal to meet: 2 per week! How hard could that be?*
I made it to 30.
That failure dwarfed every other thing I accomplished last year. It felt like a validation that I must not have the skills, the courage, or the fortitude to actually be a writer — that I must not want it enough because I didn’t show up and do the work.
The reality is that I was afraid of putting what are, essentially, my shitty first drafts out into the world. So I would agonize over every post, paralyzing myself with the poison of self-criticism and perfectionism. Then I told myself that my work was too personal while also being completely superficial — that my writing was weak and self-indulgent.
But you know what? The writing doesn’t get stronger by not being written. And maybe I need to indulge myself, indulge my artist. Let her out to play and stop being the Vinegar Pixie** who spoils everyone's ice cream.
At the beginning of this month, I promised myself that I would write and post one essay per day to this blog. It’s the last night of the month and I just want to say,
“FUCK YEAH, I DID IT!”
I’ll be honest. I really didn’t think I’d do it, like, EVERY day. I figured I’d give myself a break at some point. I almost gave up after the first week.
How am I supposed to write when The Bachelor is on? And I don't even WATCH this show.
Writing every day is so much harder than I thought it would be.
There are some days where the words fly out of me. I catch an idea and grab its tail, letting it drag me around until I arrive, glistening and covered in fairy dust, at the end.
There are some days where the ideas are the elusive ball and I am the monkey in the middle. I jump and run, trying to catch them as they sail over my head until I arrive, sweating and covered in pretzel dust, at the end.
I read somewhere that quality isn’t the point — quantity is***. Keep showing up. Keep coming back. Keep doing the work.
As of today, I’ve written more essays this month than I did all of last year. I have no idea what this writing will be when it grows up, but I’m excited to find out.
I don’t know if I’ll continue to write every day, but I might. It’s given me a sense of purpose and place that I’ve been missing. At the very least, I’d like to hit that 100 goal by the end of the year. Only 38 to go!
Thanks for reading.
**h/t to an old work colleague for “vinegar pixie,” a moniker we gave to a particularly horrible client-person, who could turn a beautiful day into a death march in under 9 seconds. She sucked.
***This is probably from Bird by Bird. It all comes back to that book, if I could only find my copy. WHERE IS IT?