The Prompt: “What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing—and can you eliminate it?” (Author: Leo Babauta)
When I saw this prompt this morning, my immediate reaction was “My what? I’m not a writer. Who cares if my writing falls to the wayside?” Except that’s complete and utter bullshit, and that bullshit thinking is my problem.
Why yes, I did just call bullshit on myself.
I mean, seriously: I have something like 15 ISBNs attached to my name. I’ve sold a few hundred thousand books. I’m working on three different books right now. The number of items on my daily to-do list that begin with “Write _____” is…innumerable. Articles. Presentations. Extended how-tos. Stuff people seem to want; stuff people seem to find useful.
I sit and stare at open files for hours on end. It doesn’t matter if I’m connected to the internet or not, or if the TV is on or not, or if I have soothing music on (or peppy music, for that matter), or if there are people around (or not), and so on. I have outlines and plans, have done my research, and just don’t start.
I don’t start because I don’t want to. I don’t want to because the stuff I write bores the crap out of me, so why would anyone else want to read it? Yes, I did just contradict myself (see “stuff people seem to find useful”).
So, what do I do each day that doesn’t contribute to my writing? How about “walk around utterly convinced that it serves no real purpose”?
I make things go—that’s what one of my job descriptions said for years and years. I conceive of applications and interactive spaces; I build them—or at least I used to. I architect. I don’t write. But yet that’s what’s in front of me every day: open word processing files—not code, not wireframes, not databases.
And I think that I think writing and not building is settling, and I don’t want to settle. I think I think that writing is inaction, and I’m all about action. Then there’s the fact that for the last five years I’ve been off getting degrees in reading and writing…that certainly complicates factors.
How do I eliminate thinking that writing is somehow less important than building (or teaching, or something else that involves forward progress)? I dunno.
[This post is part of Reverb 10 “an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” This is my post #2.]