Okay, enough already! I can’t freaking do it like that. I work full time, and have a ton of things going on, but I don’t know if my life is particularly more stressful than anyone else’s. I’ll assume it’s not, not by that much anyway. So this isn’t about making excuses. I just can’t create in the same way, day in, day out. I can’t sit at the computer every night and make things work. I write because it’s what I love. But these people tell me I have to push and push in order to “do it right.”
The thing is, when I’m ready to write, the words flow fast and free, and it’s easy, and it works. When I force it, it’s because I don’t feel like I have the right to call myself a writer unless I’m doing it every day, like all the experts say. And when I force it, it sounds forced. We think, here in America, in 2013, that productivity means “stuff I got done.” We measure ourselves according to quotas and scales, and when we find ourselves lacking, we push harder. Or we give up and take Xanax.
In the rest of my life, I’m learning how to listen to myself, my moods, my needs, and go with the moment. I want to live as authentically as possible here in the crazy frontier. My life is a flurry of adjustments between needs for technology and open spaces. And my writing brain is like that too. I think everyone’s is. The “best companies to work for” all seem to understand that their employees need downtime, respect, nice environments, movement, beauty. When they have these things, they work harder and produce more and better widgets.
And so it is for me. I love writing, except when I don’t. And when I don’t, it’s because my brain needs downtime, respect, etc. It’s because if I don’t spend some time watching my dog playing outside, or relaxing with friends, or staring at a blank wall, or just appreciating the taste of a damn fine beer, I will be useless to myself and everyone else. My job is not to push myself into writing crappy words every day just to say I did it. My job is to listen to my own needs, provide for myself lovingly, and above all, to trust that I will be back at writing when I’m ready, and it will be good. Those moments I spend just breathing and feeling what it is to be a messed up human in this world are incredibly productive, and without them, there won’t be any words at all.