It can’t be that hard. Fifteen minutes of writing? About three pages in long hand is was Julia Cameron recommended, except that I haven’t written long hand in over a decade. I don’t have a nice notebook or pen anymore either. Everything is electronic now, from my smartphone to my Blackberry to my tablet to my laptop to my desktop PC. All my writing goes into one of those devices. Even when I hand-write notes they’re onto virtual post-its or onto Evernote.
It can’t be that hard. I can talk for fifteen minutes or more. Sometimes people even pay me to do that. Why can’t I manage to write and get paid for that too? It’s strange that a few guide bullet points on an index card are enough fuel for a thirty-minute public speaking engagement, while more often than not I end up staring at a blank screen and a flashing cursor for too long before starting to write. There’s also the second guessing. When talking, you just keep going and rarely do you pause mid-sentence to think of whether or not you should have said what you said. (When the conversation is over, that’s maybe when you start to audit what you said and who you said it to.) When writing, the urge to edit the sentence you just finished can be overwhelming. Most writing tools already edit your misspelled words for you, and some even do a good job of critiquing your grammar. Sometimes I like to switch languages in the middle of paragraph sehingga program tidak mengedit tulisan saya.
It can’t be that hard, because I’m almost there. Okay, maybe I’ve stretched out the time by typing deliberately, pausing for effect a few times and cleaning the lenses of my glasses for a minute. Regardless, we’re here. The challenge is always doing this every day. Writing for myself isn’t my work, but it’s obvious that I’m not going to get better unless my approach is as rigorous as it is when it’s work. I know that I want to write, I can write, and do write. Getting past the “writer’s block” and overcoming the usual excuses (not in the mood, tired, do it later, it’s ok to skip a day) that have sabotaged this year after year after year. I guess this is a first step. Okay, it’s the latest of many first steps over the years. Will it be different? I don’t know, but I want it to be.