Today I have nothing to say, nothing to write, nothing I’m thinking about. I’m just doing this to try to build my writing muscles so that, eventually, something good will come out. Something worth saying and reading. Something that makes me happy.
And that’s another reason I’m doing this, so I won’t hate myself any more for not writing. So I will be happy and satisfied at the end of the day. So I can enjoy my not-writing time without feeling like a lazy, good-for-nothing layabout.
It feels good to have given myself permission to write without actually writing anything. But a niggling little voice of guilt comes from the back of my brain, saying,
No, I’m not. I’ve given myself permission, so I’m not cheating.
“You know darn well you’re cheating,” says the voice. “You should be working on your BOOK. Or editing your client’s book, not wasting time on this DRIVEL.”
Is having fun at writing a waste of time? I don’t think so. You’re just upset because you were brought up to believe that fun is bad. It’s not bad. It’s good. And it will lead to getting those other things done with joy instead of with fear and loathing.
“I don’t believe you.”
I know, and that’s okay. Just trust me, and come play with me.
“ME? PLAY? I couldn’t!”
Sure you can. In fact, you are playing right now, by having this little dialogue with me. You are, after all, a part of me. If we play at writing together, we will start to look forward to it instead of resisting it. Don’t you want to enjoy your work at last, after all these years of self-torture?
“Is- is that even possible?”
It’s totally possible. Other people do it all the time. Why shouldn’t we?
“I don’t know…”
Trust me. It’ll be fun.
“How does it work?”
Well, you just write down whatever comes to mind, like now. Have a conversation with yourself, and see what happens. Surprise yourself. Delight yourself.
“What if nothing comes out?”
Oh, trust me, something will come out. Sometimes, it will be lighthearted and joyful. Other times, it might be painful but cathartic.
“That doesn’t sound like fun. It sounds scary.”
It might not feel like fun at the time, but it will feel wonderful by the time you’re finished. A weight will be lifted from your shoulders. Try it!
“How do I start?”
Just set a timer or decide on a word count – make it easy to achieve, so you don’t feel pressured. That would take all the fun out of it.
Sure you are, this is your first time. But after you’ve done it, you’ll breathe easier the next time because you’ll know there is no wrong way to do it. That’s the beauty of it – no judgment, no pressure, no perfectionism allowed!
“Now, that really IS scary. You’re asking me to stop being a perfectionist!”
Yes. Yes, I am.
“What if someone reads it? They’d be shocked!”
They won’t read it unless you want them to.
“But I could have a heart attack and die tomorrow, and someone could find it!”
Highly unlikely but if they do, so what? You won’t be here to care.
“My children would be horrified to know what goes on in my head!”
You might be horrified to know what goes on in THEIR heads. Do you want to deny them the joy of exploring their thoughts?
Then why deny yourself the same joy?
“That’s very rational, but I’m not a rational person. This scares me.”
Of course it does, because it’s new. That’s okay. Think of it as daring and exciting – thrilling, even. Can you do that?
“O-okay… I guess so…”
Take my hand, then, and walk with me into the playground.
Come on, let’s play!