While discussing an essay written by a grocery store employee, the hosts of a favorite podcast of mine recently riffed on how important it is for anyone who has any interest in writing to be recording as much as they can right now, in this bizarre-o time we’re all going through. At the time, the idea felt overwhelming to me. Where to even start? And why? My life isn’t interesting right now. It’s small and delightful–I’m working at home, walking my dogs, waving to neighbors, running the streets and hills near my house, attempting to do pull ups–but not interesting.
But what is interesting is relative. No one knows what will become, if anything, of the phrases and thoughts streaming from your head and through your hands.
How arrogant to assume you can predict the future of your words.
I studied rhetoric and I work in an oftentimes-stifling corporate environment where I write business letters and PowerPoint deck copy and I sure as hell can’t certainly anticipate the outcome of any piece of writing I crank out. What will be scrapped? What will be revised beyond recognition? What will hit the mark upon first review? What will I need to return to so often I lose count, to keep working on? I don’t know. And I need to remember that.
Journaling is a starting point, a draft. Writing is a process. Writing is painful, exhausting, therapeutic. Revising leans more heavily toward exhausting. And what’s created out of this work, this really hard work, is often something I never imagined would appear from the start. (Even in the case of PowerPoint deck copy.) Magic can happen during the creative process, but the process has to start somewhere.
So, a message to myself and to anyone who needs to hear it: Write. Fucking write.
Write, write, write, write, write.