“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
M. Scott Peck
“If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it.”
Everything I’ve tried to write today seems like nonsense. I started a blog this morning and it seemed preachy. I started another blog tonight and it seemed to be going nowhere. I’ve let myself get distracted and I can’t seem to hold on to a thought. So I’m going to sit here and try to write and hope that my third attempt doesn’t feel like garbage. What I want to do is go to bed. I’ve never felt less like writing in my entire life. I’m tired and I have nothing to say. I’m trying to be a professional about this, even if I’m not being paid (yet) for my work. I don’t know if I’m tired or worried about my trip to San Francisco or just feeling stressed out about all my obligations. This much I know: I don’t feel like writing. I’m working hard but I’m not getting paid and hardly anyone’s reading. Still, I am here because I said I would be.
I don’t mean to complain, but this is the hard part of writing – the griping and moaning that I often do until my Muse gives me something. I love my Muse, but it’s hard when she’s silent or when she seems so far way. So I sit here and write hoping that something worthwhile will pour out from my fingers. Maybe the truth is that I do mean to complain. Maybe I like complaining. It’s a lot easier to be negative than positive. Sometimes I wonder if many of us are more comfortable with the negative because it takes less effort to go downhill.
The trouble is that I’m afraid of going downhill, literally and figuratively. When I was about ten years old, I went downhill on my bicycle as fast as I could. I didn’t see the rock on the sidewalk in time. The next thing I remember was being in the backseat of a car, bleeding and screaming, telling my mom I was sorry for causing problems. Then I remember being rushed into emergency. Then I remember waking up on the couch with my head and face severely swollen. I don’t remember anything between those three events. The best thing about the accident was that I got to wear an eye patch, which all the neighborhood kids thought was pretty cool.
Ever since then I’ve been afraid of going downhill. I’m afraid of going downhill as a writer, too. When I have nothing to say, it feels like I’m going downhill. That’s why writing or any form of Purpose feels like a battle sometimes, because I’m going uphill. It’s hard and it’s cold and lonely. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that what makes the U.S. Marines special and tougher than the other branches of the military, is that Marines take a perverse delight in being miserable and that they scoff at others.
I don’t like being miserable, but if that’s what it takes to reach my goals, then I can be miserable. If being miserable is what it takes to reach 500 or get my house on the beach, then that’s what it takes. I don’t care. Whatever misery I face won’t equal the misery of being stuck and indecisive for as long as I was. I’m tired right now and I’d rather sleep, but so what? I have a destination and I’m not going to get there by missing my writing time.
I’m probably rambling again, because I’m tired and I’m falling asleep. If I’m rambling, I don’t care. I’m going to get this blog done. Another quote from Pressfield is, “You don’t hear (the amateur) bitching, ‘This f*#@ing trilogy is killing me!’ Instead he doesn’t write his trilogy at all.”
Whatever else I may be, I’m not an amateur. I may not be getting paid yet, but I’m a professional. To be a professional, I have to pay my dues. That’s what I’m doing at this very moment: I’m paying my dues. I’m doing the work of a writer when it’s cold and dark and I’m tired.
This is what everyone has to go through to reach his or her goals. They have to be cold and tired and in the dark sometimes. Being in the dark means that you can’t see very far in front of you, like the blackout I experienced this morning. I don’t honestly know if I’m going in the right direction. At the beginning of the week, I seemed to be getting some extra notice. New people were reading my blogs and I was even interviewed for an Internet radio show. But as nice as that was, that’s not my goal. Those are only some of the results of doing my work.
My goals are the same and I have a lot of work to do if I’m going to reach them. I have a lot of reading and writing to do. I’d rather be doing other things, but the problem is that when I do those other things, I realize that I’d rather be with my Muse more than anything else. Yes, I’m cold and tired and miserable, but I got this done. It’s not much but I’m one step closer. I remembered to Get Started and Keep Going…and now I can go to bed.