As I settle into this pledge to write something every day, I also settle into this morning routine. I’ll open my laptop, and fire up my writing program, Scrivener. I like Scrivener, because I’m able to keep a list of assorted documents in the left hand column, and then just click on the document. It’s a lot less of a hassle than opening and closing Word documents.
I then post an essay onto my blog, which takes pressure off of me. There I can say to myself, you kept to your pledge of posting something every day. Then I open up the journal document, and start writing. Sometimes, I just write assorted musings about what’s on my mind—stuff that I don’t ever intend to publish anywhere—but within a few minutes, I stumble onto an essay or story idea, and start writing it.
I’ve often called certain kinds of writing “comfort food writing,” where I feel a sense of ease when I engage in them. For a long time, my obsessive journal musings were my comfort food writing, but I started to feel uneasy about them, because nothing came out of them that I wanted to share with anyone. So I started writing little things, usually no more than 500 words, and posting them.
Now, of course, I’m feeling uneasy about these little things that I post, because I’m starting to feel a comfortable writing groove again. For me, feeling comfortable has always been a bad sign, because it means that I’m settling into a rut of sorts. When I feel this way, I always feel as if there’s some sort of other enterprise I should undertake, in this case a novel or some other longer piece.
Yet this time, I do wonder if this nagging sense of settling into a comfortable state of mind is a kind of masochism. Yes, it wasn’t that great to be in a comfortable writing state when my output was assorted obsessions about one thing or another that I kept in to myself, where they could marinate in my mind. Now, though, I get things out there, in this compact format that’s starting to feel like home.
I do so wish I had gotten to this point a couple of decades ago, because it feels like this step up from which I will go further. It’s a comfortable place, this step, where I write for a while, wrap it up, check the word count, and, if it’s over 500 words, put it out for all to see. Then, however, I look at my book shelf, see huge works spanning hundreds of pages, and once again wonder if I’m settling for less than I can really do.
Of course I can write longer things, and maybe this step is just a place that I happen to be at the moment before moving onto other things. Now that I’m getting my writing out there, I’m so impatient for things to move on. This new step of writing an essay/story or two each day has only been going on for about a month, and it’s difficult to remember the time before that, when posting something each day seemed like an impossibility.
So this is where I am now, posting a brief essay or story each day, and this is where I may be for a long time. It is comfortable. And though I may move on to other things, I like being here.