it’s been forty-eight days since i last wrote.
forty-eight days since i last stretched fingers and placed them on a keyboard. forty-eight days since i arranged and rearranged thoughts and ideas.
i have fought this for so long, this work, and i came back to it, truly, only a few weeks ago.
long before i blogged, i was a writer.
i began writing in my first journal as a second-grader. it was purple with a unicorn on it, and my diary entries were short and filled with the angsty drama of an eight-year-old.
somewhere around the same time, i wrote and illustrated a short story on the front and back of a lined piece of paper. it was perhaps my first and last foray into voluntary illustration.
i kept writing and writing and writing. a stack of journals proves this point and so would countless microsoft word documents if they had not already been relegated to digital oblivion.
in seventh grade i decided i wanted to be an author. i came up with countless stories, writing several chapters into most of them and not going back.
but in ninth grade, i finished my first novel.
and in tenth grade, i finished my second.
i began blogging my junior year of high school; the first incarnation of this blog began the summer before i went to college.
and since that first day of publishing on the internet, this has been my primary forum. i wrote my best and worst work here; it lives yet in the archives.
but i have, over the past nine years, forgotten what writing is, because writing on the internet is not like writing in a word document.
in ninth and tenth grades i understood something critical: writing is work.
it is stressful, soul-crushing, unforgiving work. there is no point at which you “arrive,” that measure of achievement we so dearly long for. like any art or science – and writing is both – it demands ruthless dedication.
i knew this then; it’s why few if any ever read my fiction, because i understood how writing craves to be worked on and wrestled with. but i have forgotten it here, distracted as i’ve been by the push and pull of branding and social media and competition.
i have let the work that doesn’t matter distract me from the work that does.
perhaps you feel similarly, and if you do, let’s together cast down the trappings of everyone else’s tips on how to be “how to be a successful” writer or blogger or whatever else.
i don’t mind learning the strategy of my work but when the strategy clouds the work, that’s when you know the strategy isn’t working.
the strategy hasn’t worked for me for years, and i threw up my hands in frustration and neglected the real work because it was clouded by the optional.
i am not choosing the wrong work anymore.