There really doesn’t seem to be anything today.
No, nothing. This is such a blank feeling. I just don’t feel as if there’s anything to write about, and I don’t want to start my blog entry by once again talking about how there’s nothing today.
But if I write every day, there will be so many days like this. I put one word in front of the other, and hope that eventually, as I write, something will come to me.
Still nothing. So I continue to churn out words, and hope that something will come.
It is a slog, this commitment to writing something every day. If I’m going to write something every day, I sure would like to write about something besides having nothing to write about, because it gets kind of boring writing one essay after another about having nothing to write about.
But whether or not there is something, there is writing. In particular, there is writing when there is nothing there. It is about practicing, day after day, hoping that something will happen.
The thing of it is that if I don’t write every day, I’m not going to be able to catch something on the days that it comes to me. I think of the times, before I started writing as much as I do, when ideas came to me, and after a few minutes trying to get them down on paper or screen, I just gave up, because I just didn’t have the facilities to really get down what I was thinking. Now I can do that well enough, and must do so on the days that I’m not thinking much of anything.
It makes me think of a time, a couple of years ago, that I went to a ukulele open mike night each month. One month, the weather was terrible, and when I arrived, I saw that maybe four other people had shown up. One of them was playing a song, and invited me to join him.
It was an original song that he wrote, and he kept calling out chords. And because I’d been practicing, I was able to follow him. It was kind of a magic moment, because I was just able to shift from one chord to another without thinking about it.
I wouldn’t have had that moment, though, if I hadn’t just sat down and played chord after chord. I did this on many days that I just didn’t feel all that fired up to play my uke. As a result, on the days when I was indeed fired up to play my uke, I could actually play it, and get those ideas that I had in my head out into the ether.
There will be moments, in the future, when I actually am inspired to write. An idea will come to me, and I’ll think “hey…that’s a good thing to write about.” And because there have been all these times that I’ve put words together when I have no ideas whatsoever, I’ll actually be able to get those ideas down.
Ideas shimmer when they come to me, these opportunities that I want to pull out the air as if I’m trying to collect a jar full of fireflies. It is only by writing one word after another that I can actually open that jar, and collect those things that are flying around, lighting up the sky intermittently.
Opportunity is out there all the time, but so often, I realize that I haven’t put in the work necessary to seize that opportunity. To do so, I need to spend a lot of time when opportunity isn’t there at all. That means putting one word in front of the other, constantly practicing the art of catching fireflies so that, on those summer evenings that they come out, I can actually snare them.