There’s an uneasiness as I continue to write these essays. Call it the annoyance of the mundane.
When I started posting things every day, I would, of course, spend time writing essays so that I’d have more essays to post. Now, on days that I have the time, I sometimes write two, even three. Yet even there, a certain novelty is wearing off.
Specifically, it involves essays that I write about having nothing to write about. For a while there, I would write things that said yes, it’s difficult to do this every day, and there are times, when I sit here, that absolutely nothing comes to me.
So I’d go on, meandering here and there, musing about that challenge that every artist faces, that of creating when there is that nagging feeling that there’s nothing to create. There, I would say to myself after writing 500 or so words on this, I’ve written an essay.
And that has gotten old.
When we move along the road in any endeavor, there is a progressive burst of joy at some sort of novelty. Look, I said, I succeeded in writing something every day.
Yet soon, the initial rush of keeping to this pledge wore off.
And now, so has the whole idea of writing essays about having nothing to write about.
No, I say to myself, as I sit here, alone, with nothing but words to keep me company, if you’re going to write, it has to be about something. Write about giving blood. Write about a film you saw. Write about food. Write about, you know, the novelty of writing about having nothing to write about getting stale.
In other words, as I just said in the last paragraph: write about something.
It’s a depressing feeling, getting tired of a certain level of advancement. I’m reminded of playing an episodic video game, when there’s that initial thrill of attaining a new level, unlocking the door to a new room, only to have that room become familiar. As that happens, there’s the longing to move on, to see what’s behind that next door.
When I’m on one step in a journey, the initial ascension to that next step is so great. There’s a new view, a new vista, and suddenly the world seems vivid and exciting, ripe with possibilities.
But then that vista becomes familiar, and what was once a future goal now becomes a present accomplishment. Sure, there’s a feeling of satisfaction, but there is also the realization that something that seemed like an untenable thing has now just become another thing that I do.
Yet this doesn’t mean that I abandon writing, and strive to recapture that exact feeling of reaching a goal from long ago. There are other goals in the future, and when I get there, I will once again feel that rush of taking my writing to the next level.
So now I sit here, wanting my writing to be about something, in this case, about the way previously unthought of achievements simply become the things that we do every day. Riding a bike initially is thrilling, and then it just becomes a way to get from one place to another, after all. Yet at the same time, the goals shift, and we think about another place farther along to which we can pedal.
Yes, my morning journal entries will initially begin with such words as “nothing to write about today,” but soon, if not right now, that will become extinct from my essay, mostly because when I do this, I eventually stumble on something to write about, so the initial agonizing about supposedly having nothing in the brain box is unnecessary. I’ve begun to see that there is always something in nothing, and if I’m to keep posting these essays—and if I’m going to expect people to keep reading them—it’s best to write about something. I am leaving behind one type of writing that once felt fresh and new, but it is only by doing this that I can move forward to what will be, once again, something that gives me that charge of accomplishment.
And the thing that gives me that accomplishment now is doing something, and writing about something.