In high school, I took an English class that demanded I write a 2500 word essay every other Sunday. The prompt was always different, but that was never the hard part. The challenge were those 2500 words. We were given the prompt on Monday morning, so technically I had all week to write. I’d open up a Word document Monday night. It’d just sit there on my Dad’s old PC, collecting a word or sentence of inspiration every few days. And then on Sunday, I’d wake up early, walk down to the study in my pajamas, still wrapped up in my comforter from bed, and plop myself in Dad’s chair. And I wrote. On good days, a week’s worth of ideas would synthesize on the page. On other days, I’d pull it all out of thin air. But I always wrote. I never thought about the audience. It was just me, the prompt, and my Dad’s aging computer. I’d go to the kitchen to eat, but other than that, I spent all day in that chair. 8am or so, until around midnight. We had to submit the essays to an anti-plagiarism site which apparently had an office on the West Coast, so the deadline was midnight Pacific time. I technically could have kept working until 3 o’clock, but every time I hit that 2500 word threshold I’d give the essay a once over for glaring errors, save it, and submit it. Then I’d go straight to bed.
There was something freeing about that process. Knowing the sheer amount that I’d have to write (which seems trivial now, in the rear view mirror), made me just sit down and spill. It didn’t always produce the best results. In fact, I’m sure I wrote some of the most contrived, trite things I’ve ever written on those Sundays. But I also did some of my best thinking and writing those days. And I’d bet I wrote more that year than I have in any year before or since.
It feels like one of those Sunday mornings to me. This time there’s no deadlines or word limits, only the sinking feeling I’m losing touch with one of my most important skills. I used to have to write all of the time. And I used to be proud of my ability to do it well. Art school demanded less of me in that regard. And adulthood has required almost none.
I’m going to try to turn that around. Just like those Sundays junior year, I’m going to do my best to just write. I’m not going to think about how few of you out there are reading this. I’m not going to worry myself too much on quality. I just want to put my ideas somewhere where they’re not locked away. I will not be holding myself to 2500 words, however. The posts will be however long they are when they feel done.
I won’t be including a comments section because I tend to find those to be the darkest, nastiest places on the internet. If you have any thoughts on my words, I’d love it if you responded on Twitter or via email. And if you see me start to neglect my writing duties, please give me a little prod. A procrastinator is never cured, but is forever in treatment.