Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Ugh. I was really hoping to get a little further into this before I was actually challenged by a prompt. Can’t it all be puppies, baseball, what I watch on the teevee and crazy ex-boyfriends? Y’know, the easy stuff! Now you want me to write about writing? Sheesh.
Thing is, responding to this prompt implies that I consider myself a writer. Once upon a time I did fancy myself adept at putting pen to paper. Fueled by the unwavering support of primarily my parents and various teachers throughout the years, I used to think that maybe, somehow, writing was something I could consider one of my stronger skills – alongside card shuffling, hand washing and origami crane making. That competition I won that sent me to the Oregon Writers Festival as a third grader had to mean something, right?!
It’s not that I think my ability has diminished over the years; rather, it’s that so much of the way I choose to spend my time often conspires against making a conscious attempt at meaningful creativity. I know I can write, and write well at that. My writing skills were called out in my performance review at work two weeks ago, which made me particularly happy because writing about the many facets of health care combines two things that mean a great deal to me. I also received one of the best compliments ever from my youngest brother a few months ago, during one of our frequent adulatory conversations about This American Life. “Dude, you could totally write for that program. I have no doubt.” I’m not certain I agree with him, but high praise from the kiddo, nonetheless.
So yeah, I can write. I can mash words together sometimes in a way that’s nice to look at. However, with the exception of some of what I write for work, not much else feels very meaningful. I haven’t kept a journal in years. I have only used this blog for very specific purposes (documenting a month of sobriety last year and now this). I write e-mails rather than letters and sometimes Facebook posts rather than e-mails. I feel like I dump so much drivel out into the universe in small, frequent doses that to consider something, I don’t know, something more would be excessively self-indulgent.
I don’t see it so much as needing to eliminate something from my day in order to write more or better or even at all. What I need to do, if it matters to me (which I probably need to spend some time thinking about), is figure out what I have to say and how I might want to say it. Otherwise, I run the risk of ending up exactly where I am right now, at the end of this post – getting bored with myself and the sound of my own voice.