December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I am about to answer this question when I notice a shiny piece of ribbon on the table. It is the silver, curly ribbon I have been twining around holiday presents. It is the tail end of a roll – not quite long enough to use but too pretty to throw out – I muse.
Distractions. My life is full of them. Starting with the internet: email, facebook, twitter, myspace, vanity searches and obsessive checking up on my CDbaby account to see if there’s been any activity since I last looked 10 minutes ago. All this bouncing around from site to site has an amazing ability to make time disappear. I absent-mindedly chew through time like one munches on potato chips. Salty, alluring and at the end of the day, a little sickening to my stomach to think about all the could-have-dones with that creative energy spent instead fussing and lurking and adding my periodic witty one-liners, my thoughtful “likes” to other people’s posts.
And what purpose do these distractions serve, really? Truth is I am equally distracted even once I am sitting down to write. I have so many half-ideas – so many trail of broken thoughts. I am afraid to commit to one singular path. To start writing is to put things down … is to let go of fretting… is to fix things. Two means of the word “fix”: (1) to make concrete on paper (and therefore seemingly unchangeable) and (2) to make better. There is, I’m sure, another long essay about how it benefits me to always feel something is *wrong*, but for now and in answer to “how can I elimate it?”
Trust that there is an abundance of words to come.
I worry sometimes that the start of a thought will come tumbling out only to be left to die alone in the desert. But there are more than enough words to quench my thirst for writing. And everything is connected to everything, so by uttering words naturally it follows more will flow.
There is an abundance of time.
I can pursue a single idea because even if it turns out to be silly or superficial, I can turn that page aside and dive into another idea. I can do this again and again… and again. This may sound like I am saying I could spend more time, not less, frittering in these distractions. But to the contrary: there is a desperateness to that distracted state – if time were air it would be like drowning. Attention flailing back and forth between tasks like arms thrashing back and forth trying to stay afloat. Spits and starts at tasks like gasps for air, all the while feeling my lungs fill with water. There is an abundance of time, if you are not grabbing at it but letting it flow.