Launching a Daily Practice

Years ago I blogged weekly, then it became monthly. Like in many things that feel good but require discipline – meditation, writing, exercise – my practice has become slapdash. Laziness is the only reason. My alarm goes off at 5:30 AM just like it did when I diligently got up to write the first draft of my memoir for more than a year without missing a day. Yes, I did do that, I remind myself. Now I hit snooze and seize an extra 15 minutes of slumber – about 3 times before getting up – now with only enough time to get ready for work.

There’s another reason why I posted less: self-doubt. Is this interesting to you? Am I being self-indulgent sharing on here? Do I think I’m Karl Ove Knaussgard or something? I’ve abandoned many drafts with this kind of thinking, wrestling with why should I blog? Why I should even write anything, anywhere – period?

Yet I like knowing about my fellow human’s day-to-day lives – moments, glimpses, meanderings. What are they thinking and talking about, what are they eating? Reading? What’s the view from their window when they woke in the night, the encounter on the street they live on? Who do they live with? What we each do with our time on this planet fascinates me. As my own time grows shorter, even more. So what the hell.

Here’s the thing: my aspirations and illusions are few but I like writing. The process helps me think and when it’s good, I feel as if I’m wake-dreaming or something. And in this space I have both my beautiful solitude and a community, connection. And I want to get my writing muscle back and I know that exercise is the only way. So I’m going to do that here by making myself accountable to this space and you.

I’ve become less inclined to raise my hand to challenges, less willing to push myself out of my comfort zone. And every time I hit ‘publish’ it’s a little bit of that jump off the cliff. In that spirit, as well to get my writing discipline back, I’m going to (try) to blog daily. Not long pieces, just something every day. I haven’t figured out the particulars yet, morning or night and what and all that. We’ll see.

I am inspired by a wonderful author, blogger and champion of other writers Cynthia Newberry Martin who wrote about one true thing about herself every day for a year. She too wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone. I looked forward to and loved reading those daily posts and remember the pleasure and interest I took, years later. (Check them out here.)

So now I’ve written what I’m committing to, I’ve dilly-dallied and edited all day, anything to avoid actually posting this. But I’m ready to close out an Easter Sunday of rain and clouds, flashes of sun with a glorious finale sunset – by going ahead with a promise and ‘publish’. Thanks for reading.

Choosing the Dog (and other excuses)

I seem to be experiencing vicarious ‘senioritus’ as my daughter counts down the days until graduation and mostly moves on cruise-control through school. Certainly she’s savoring social events more than the study ones. These last weeks are full of concerts and award ceremonies to mark the end of her public school career.

Busy, busy. This is a reason I give myself for my recent writing hiatus.

Also, Spring clean-up is overwhelming around here as we do so little autumn maintenance. Last year’s leaves have rotted nicely under the hedges and in the corner of the driveway and can now be raked right into the vegetable garden. (We are good environmentalists thanks to our laziness.) Hedges need clipping, vegetables – planting.

The list goes on. There’s so much to do!

Of course, these excuses for not writing are complete bullshit. So what’s my problem?  I beat myself up with doubt: any writing-mojo I ever had is just gone, I’m a fraud – I can’t write! But rationally, I know it’s simply a lack of discipline.

I’ve been goofing off.

When it comes to being creative, it’s rarely a bolt of inspiration that gets me working, it’s simply sticking to a routine. A time and place in my daily schedule when I sit my ass in this chair in front of this screen – and very importantly: stay off the internet!

Still, life happens and I allow these excuses, to cut myself some slack. I remembered a silly philosophical discussion from my days as an art student — if a piece by Michelangelo and a dog were both in the middle of the road about to get hit and you only had time to save one, which would you save? Of course, we agreed that we’d save the dog, choose the life over art.

But enough excuses. Back to work.


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