In Which I Trounce My Inner Critic
A rooster crows outside in the pitch-dark morning.
I sit here. Cold. Annoyed. Telling myself lies.
“You don’t even like this — what makes you think you’re any good at it?”
“You don’t have anything to say.”
“You’re not a real writer.”
“This is gonna last for another week or so, and then you’ll cave, just like last time.”
Everything is cold, and stale, and false.
Where’s the freshness, the inspiration?
Sipping my water while longing for coffee, I have to smile. This is nothing new, is it?
Like Peter speaking lies about knowing Jesus, I pretend I don’t know who I am.
But I remember what they’ve all said, all those articles and authors, each coming with a unique tone to voice, variations on the tune we all sing:
“Just. Keep. Writing.”
So, I do. Head down, neck aching, fingers plodding along the keyboard, I write.
Because I want to. Not necessarily now, not necessarily in this moment. (I actually want to be in between warm sheets, oblivious to the world, thank you.)
But more than what I want in this moment, I want to write words, and to write them well requires that I do it when I feel like I don’t want to.
It feels good to have figured out that eventual satisfaction is better than instant gratification. (Some one high-five me for being an adult, please.)
They call it a grind for a reason — all these sharp edges of thoughts rubbing together, being reduced to the powder of words on paper; meant to turn into something better and more useful through the process of pulverizing the impressions, knowledge, and experiences of a soul.
Somedays, it will be more useful than others. (Like, that last paragraph sounded good, but wasn’t particularly useful.)
But a writer doesn’t wait for someday. A writer creates a someday by writing today.
So here I am, way too early, and far too cranky, to do anyone but myself any good.
And at the end of the page, this is what I know: I do it because it’s who I want to be. The American concept of the “self-made man” deserves to be challenged, yet there is an essence of truth in the ideal…we choose who we will be by what we choose today.
I used to think that before I could call myself “X”, I needed to perfectly practice being “X” for six months straight. What I didn’t realize was the importance of the identity factor…what you identify as, for better or for worse, is typically what you will become.
I want to be a writer. So I write. As a result, I am a writer.
That doesn’t mean the work I’ve done is great, or even good. But there’s work being done in me, and that is never a waste.
It’s a relief to know I am not a product of my productivity.
Sometimes the best results are invisible, and simply knowing that there’s change within is a reward.
(But can I please have both inner reward and outward results, though, please, huh?!)
(Apparently my inner toddler had extra whine with her cheese last night.)
Today, I choose writing. And, that makes me a writer.