Here are a list of reasons I have given myself to explain why I'm not writing:
-Because I no longer socialize with writers on a regular basis.
-Because my job does not involve writing.
-Because I feel guilty about coldly observing certain events in terms of how to write about them rather than properly experiencing them.
-Because I read too many comic books.
-Because writing was just something I wanted to do as a high school pariah.
-Because I quit smoking.
-Because I watch too much television.
-Because I play too many video games.
-Because I watch too many movies.
-Because I don't have a deadline.
-Because my job takes away time that could be used writing.
-Because my job is now a day job rather than an overnight job.
-Because when I am not working I have too many other obligations.
-Because my various feelings of guilt, frustration, and insecurity over not writing for as long as I have not written have increased to the point where it is simply not possible to push past them.
-Because my sleep apnea saps my energy.
-Because my weight saps my energy.
-Because the changes in publishing I keep hearing about intimidate me into inaction.
Want me to go on? I could go on. If I wrote all the theories I have formulated to explain why I haven't written a novel, I would end up writing a novel. Why the Fuck Can't I Write A Fucking Novel: A Novel by Michileen Martin.
So this morning I wrote. Specifically, I wrote the beginning of a novel I've had in my head for four years tentatively titled Come Home, Quiet Man. In fact, I have already written about 60 pages of it, but it's been intermittent and it's all scattered, so rather than try to patch it all together I've opted to just start from scratch.
I woke up at 4 am. Okay, bullshit, I woke at 4:30 am, but I meant to wake at 4. I got all of my morning crap out of the way by 5:15, and then I wrote until it was time to go to work. My idea was simple. Every night I go to bed mad at myself for not writing. Every night for years I have known I will go to bed mad at myself for not writing. If I write as soon as I get up in the morning, then that won't happen. And all day I will know it won't happen. So I can worry about other things. Like diet soda. And porn.
Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way helped me get to a place where I could write with confidence again, but like all things, it wasn't perfect. In at least one way, Cameron's wisdom hurt my cause. Part of what kept me blocked was thinking of writing as some magical, indefinable, beautiful thing, whereas what eventually got me to the point where I could write the first thousand words of a novel after scraping the morning gunk from my eyes was learning how to knock the concept of Writing (with a capital RUH) off its pedestal and see it simply as an action neither better or worse than anything else. Cameron tends to describe writing and creative work in general as something God wants us to do and generally upholds the idea of it being something untouchable, beautiful, extrawonderificial. The kind of thing Levar Burton should sing a song about on PBS. And I'm not saying she's wrong. I'm just saying to unblock myself, I needed to think about something other than Heaven. I needed to bring the very idea of writing back down to earth.
I want to write and be a writer. I always have, and I have never doubted it. I consider myself lucky amidst all the people who have no idea what they want to do or be. I've always known. If the people in my daily life knew how my thoughts are almost always, always, ALWAYS concentrated on the half-dozen novels I haven't been writing, they might understand why I always look like Trent Reznor based his first three albums off my face.
So this morning I wrote.