to write every day

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Dear Nobody in Particular,

I know I've held writing at an arm's length -- I know I have.  Even as I've tried to be more diligent/intentional to transform it into a habit...I haven't been serious.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day where we talked about how there ought to be asseverate category of things that we say we want to do, but do nothing about.  For me, that would include improving my Spanish.  Practicing yoga.  Things that are good for me, that I genuinely want to do...and yet, do not do.

I almost can't stand for writing to be one of the things on that list, and yet, to take it off the list can get really messy.  I think one of my greatest fears about writing is that I'll say something too cringey -- maybe because I hate the experience of reading stuff I find to be cringe -- but the truth is, I will write cringe things.  I have written them.  And this morning I was reading a story about a beloved author in the New Yorker that made me cringe, and I thought, you can't avoid it.  It's a part of people having different taste, you can't make everyone happy and you also cannot avoid but to make some people cringe, no matter what you say.

That's freeing.  And I know that if I do not practice -- that is, if I do not just  write -- then I'll continue to hover around the line, afraid of making someone roll their eyes or saying something I don't mean or otherwise writing something rote and, frankly, dumb.  It's all going to happen, all of my worst fears will happen.

Is this what it takes to get good at anything?  Since I do not practice yoga and only wish that I did I can't say this for sure, but I don't know if yoga works that way.  Perhaps the stakes are lower.  Does it mean that anything worth doing comes at a high cost?  That failure is unavoidable, somehow?  I'm just asking these questions into a void, I don't expect answers, really.

Anyway, a friend (who I've yet to thank for this incidental inspiration) posted yesterday that Seth Godin says that you have to write every day, to force yourself to form opinions.  That people don't have to read it, you just have to write.  I do see the sense in this.  For a while I've been making myself write every day (but not really every day) euston a google doc, but the stakes are low and it's not so much about the fact that no one is reading those thoughts, but I know that no one will and that changes things somehow.  The possibility that someone could read this isn't changing what I'm writing, really...just changing the fact that I am saying anything at all.

If you are reading this, I'm sorry about that.  I feel like I've written this same rant twenty other times, so it's worn out to me.  But this has to be part of it -- perhaps if I follow this old, tired thought with something 2% fresher tomorrow, momentum will gather.  This is what I hope for.  I'm not committing to anything, necessarily, but I do hope that I can write every day this month.

And hopefully, eventually, I'll begin to be able to write about less awful stuff.

That's all.  I'm not even going to re-read this.  Hopefully this is the approved-of method.  Going to go thank my girl for passing this idea along + see what happens tomorrow.

xo, mal 

Mallory OvertonComment