Prompt: Passion – If you could quit your day job and your quality of life wouldn’t change, what would you do?
My mind is filled with words, phrases, opening paragraphs and storylines. I see them in color, dimension and vibrancy. They wink at me, glowing in that firecracker glow before vanishing into darkness. I’ve been this way all my life, yet what started around age seven or before as an effortless outpouring of thoughts and ideas onto paper or screen seems to have become something I put off in my latter years. And I’m not quite sure why. Innate laziness? Life crowding in on me? Lack of gumption?
I would love to be much further along in my writing than I am, yet I let all the peripherals and obligations of life get in the way. I get home from work and after the obligatory cooking and eating and cleaning, I plunk myself down somewhere and do something, anything else rather than work on bringing the words out of my head. Even on the weekends I seem to have all these other things to do or not-do. Not-doing something can take a hellish lot of time.
Whatever’s really going on, I seem to have pushed the real process of writing to the background, of nailing myself to the chair, shutting off distractions and spinning those opening paragraphs into real stories.
Yet I’ve got notebooks filled with stories, poetry, paragraphs and one-liners through the years to this day. I’ve poured sudden inspiration onto napkins, backs of envelopes (sticky part included), newspapers, subscription cards from magazines and Band-Aid wrappers. I can be so intensely single-minded when searching for something to scrawl on that if you interrupt me while I’m scrabbling for a shred of paper, it can get ugly (sorry, Mr. HouseofBeck).
Writers know if you don’t write it down, you can lose it forever. It’s the same as with the plotlines, opening sentences and apparently brilliant turns of phrase you get in the middle of the night when you don’t want to wake up at all, but you know you have to stick that circulation-deadened arm over the edge of the bed and grope for pen and paper. I’ve told myself I’ll remember that brilliance too many times not to know I won’t.
So that’s the biggest problem: It’s all in there, all these words waiting to be used for something brilliant, but I need to get them OUT and in front of my eyeballs. It isn’t that I don’t write at all–I’d die–and I do get into the vortex where peril falls upon anyone who disturbs me (again, sorry, Mr. HouseofBeck), but I just don’t write substantially. I’ve gone through NaNoWriMo for the third time and was happy to win again, but the writing became more of a chore than a joy toward the end and I’ve still not been back to start editing the mass of over 50K words. I know writing is hard work. That’s just never all it should be.
Then came this reverb project. This simple yet stunning concept is influencing how I look at things, expanding how I look at my daily existence. Even the prompts I like the least still teach me something about myself as well as make me take that essential step back to really look at who I am.
As well, a friend and I have just started our own literary salon, where we meet once a week and swap chapters or snippets, give constructive feedback and commiserate over failed plot bunnies. Support from someone who knows the agonies you go through with your own mind plot is priceless. And given the timing, somehow I don’t think this would have happened without reverb paving the way, getting that vibe out that I was awakened again.
But even though this has started, it still has to continue, and that’s all on me. I can’t keep waiting for my fantasy brain-to-computer linkup, but I can do other things to help. I should finally make the leap to switch on a recorder (I know there’s an app for that) and just talk out loud to myself as the words come when I can’t get to something more manual, as when I’ve driving. Hell, Aquanotes pinged me on Twitter because I was complaining about ideas I get in the shower. Waterproof notepad? I need this!
And, of course, I could nail myself to that chair, shut off distractions (and the internet) and just write.
I’m very grateful that writing is a huge part of me. The Muse is not an easy one to serve, nor is she for any artist, but I know how it feels when the words come flowing out or you wrestle with a stubborn paragraph and win and when your characters start speaking for themselves. When you’re more “you” than at any other time and you’re not even thinking of yourself at all. It’s intoxicating, electrifying, and I was a fool to turn my back on it for so long.
The gauntlet has been thrown–I challenge myself to continue!
Disclaimer: I am enjoying my day job very much. Great people, great cause, and there’s a lot left I have to learn about my chosen field. I think I’m personally there for more than one reason, and part of that has to do with the friends I’ve met and am getting to know better. It’s fabulous.