Not For You: Undoing the Undoings, And Writing

Just another cliche sunset shot. Taken at Vancouver's English Bay, looking south, in December 2010.

I’m writing again.

Let’s not talk about resolutions. They’re stupid. I’m just trying to undo some of my undoings. There have been a few. Simply achieving the undoing of undoings will lead me to a pretty wonderful place this year.

With writing, my goal is very simple: Try to write every single day.

I’ve been forgetting that I’m a writer. I’m not sitting down to build word cities anymore, and I wonder why my emotional landscape seems so barren.

Writing is a verb. It’s helpful to remember it requires doing.

There are those who claim inspired writing is like trying to catch fireflies or something else as fleeting and unlikely.

Like, you see a bright spark and chase it. Sometimes you catch it, sometimes it eludes you. The point is, you give chase. You try. You look in the darkness and hope some spark finds you, that you can catch that spark and embellish it, create something illuminating and amazing.

Oh, bullshit.

The truth is, inspiration comes easily when you have work ethic. By writing every day at a certain time, it’s almost like you can turn inspiration on within five minutes of pounding the keys. I know, I’ve been there.

Only twice in my life have I resolved to write daily on matters that move me. Both times I managed to segue into the best writing of my life. The first time, it shattered six years of writers’ block. It was simply a matter of working on it, daily.

Instead of thinking a thought, write it. Simple.

I know this. I know it takes work. Scheduling, regularity, routine. These are a writer’s best friends.

In the manic ways of our modern world, it’s easy to forget how simple work ethic — a little every single day — adds up over the long term. Writing compounds like any other effort.

I’ve had a terrible time with writing in 2010. None of it went as I wanted. Much of what I did has been worthy of trash heaps.

A false start here and a false start there, sooner or later it all feels false.

Hemingway said he wrote as an exercise of truth-finding. Any writer worth their salt, he suggested, was one who sought truth and wrote truth. The truth shall set you free… and make for some pretty entertaining reading.

The kind of writing I aspire to requires exactly that. It’s easy to lie to you, but insufferable to live with lies. Through my year of failed writing and wrong-perspective-having, I feel like I’ve danced through a darkness filled half-truths and white lies — leaving stories incomplete because incompletion is better, more true, than inaccuracy. Why end a story when you’re unhappy with the conclusion?

Anyone who complains about how hard it is to find a pair of jeans to buy has never tried to find a story to write.

I’m at that point, too, in my writing journey, where I question my creative instincts. All of them.

Is that story really one with legs? Can I make it walk? Does the journey have a point? Should I bother?

Creatively, I’ve been filled with false hopes for some time. That fog is starting to lift. My clarity is returning. I’m remembering that writing must be a daily pursuit. More importantly… I’m wanting it to be a daily pursuit.

Two truths:

1) I like myself better when I’m writing well.
2) I only write well when I write often.

Pretty simple to add 2+2 on days like this.

For the first time in years, though, that daily writing will be private. All in the name of The Book That Will Be Written (TBTWBW).

It’s the new year. Ahhh, that silly marketing ploy to sell us calendars filled with puppies and bikini-wearing babes.

In theory, the year is unwritten. Unmarred upon the page. Waiting for me to give it adventure, love, humour, drama, pathos, and more. Just a naked page, yielding to whatever I desire to impart it.

I like that feeling.

2010 was a hard year for me. It started poorly and pretty much stayed there. I had a lot of moments of light-in-darkness, but I ultimately let my year get the better of me — personally, writing-wise, professionally, physically, and more.

Life happens.

I’m not a big fan of New Year festivities and think they’re largely overhyped, but this year I’m ready to flip the script on the Year That Was. And for whatever 2010 wasn’t, I’m grateful to the things it suggested could be possible. I’m grateful to experiences like speaking at Northern Voice 2010, the people I’ve met, the bucket-list items I checked off.

But those 2010 moments were few and far between.

I’m not in some “thank god it’s over” naive mindset that the date somehow implies everything has changed.

I realize my life is pretty much exactly where I left it last week. Financially, spiritually, and more. But I don’t care.

I know any change that comes this year will be self-driven. I’m aware any writing that comes from me will have to come from me, be OF me.

I get it. I’m nowhere better than I was before “2010” flipped off my calendar.

And yet.