Like most of us on any given day, I have a whiff of time to get a lot of shit done. You see, while Oliver is galloping along in school all day as a second grader, Lucy is still in the dying breed of half-day kindergarten–she goes to school from 1:33-4:05. From the time I drop her off at school to the time I pick her up, I have a window during which, if I am not careful, all of that stuff I want and need to get done can blow out the window in a gust of cleaning, or chatting with Paul, or clearing off my desk, or emailing, or cleaning the house, or having coffee with a friend or
letting my pen hover too long.
There is a scarcity of time and energy in each of our days. We have to pick and choose. I like to be as intentional as I can with my choices. I think about (actually, I write in my journal about) priorities. Number one and two, my health (including my fitness) and time with my family. Those are and will always be at the top. Because if it is not for our health, everything falls apart. And if it is not for my family, well, Time will pass quickly and I will be filled with sorrow that I didn’t take those moments when I had them.
Third comes my writing, for it is part of my health–my mental health. So if I have a lot on my mind and a small time to write, you, the reader, will not see anything new from me because I always begin my writing thinking on paper first, before I touch my computer.
A friend of mine recently told me that I need to post more, that’s it’s annoying to come to my site and see that same post for a week, sometimes two. And I wondered, too, why this is the case since I do write most days, and thus should have time to post more often. While I was on a bike ride, I figured out why this is: I let my mental pen hover too long. And then I thought about my students who say they don’t know what to write when they do have time to journal. The myriad thoughts competing for attention, competing to get out of our heads and onto that paper threaten to clog us up. We have so much to say, we don’t know what to say, how to begin to draw it out. That’s why I always teach people to begin with one or two words, such as “Right now,” or “Today,” or “I want,” etc. When we begin to journal, words can be used like a mantra to return to when we are trying to find our flow.
But writing these posts. I have pages of essay ideas. Pages. And I write most of those essays in my head on bike rides or in the shower, or in traffic. So it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that I have too much to say. And I hover too long. And the moment is lost–I have to grab my keys and head out the door to pick Oliver and Lucy up from school.
So Reader, let’s make a pact–you sit with your journal, seize your moment, and begin to write. Grab a word and begin. Don’t worry about how it sounds or that it’s not really what you meant to say or that you are having a hard time explaining or that you hate your handwriting or that it sounds stupid or rambling or whatever. What you need to say will come out eventually if you just stick with it. And instead of hovering over this site with my perfectionist ways and asshole critic inside my head, I will sit with my computer, seize this moment, and begin.
Just like I did with this post.