Following My Own Advice

It has been several weeks, perhaps even months, and I have abandoned the practice of writing 500 words most days of the week. Weeks have gone by when I’ve not written anything. It is as though I feel that nothing I say matters.

I feel that nothing I say matters.

I have nothing to say that I think matters.

Matters to whom? I am writing for myself. Yes, even to myself, what I say doesn’t matter.

I have not written because I believe I should be writing something profound and worthy of publishing and I have nothing like that to say to anyone, not even myself.

Now, if a student were to say those words to me, I would offer words of encouragement and when those didn’t work I would say, “It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be done.”

This advice is great when there is someone to hold the writer accountable – a partner, coach, teacher, someone who cares that you honor the gift that you have.

This advice works even better when the writer can hold herself accountable. After all, ultimately, a writer writes, even when no one else knows she is writing.

In the past few weeks, I have not been able to hold myself accountable.

I have not attended writing group in months. The snowy, frigid weather and work commitments made that group seem less important to me than it has in the past.

Is that true? Or am I just making excuses?

In truth, many people attend the group who haven’t written a thing. We hold each other as writers in a different way, I suppose. Though prompts are offered, we are not compelled to produce anything that emerges from them. It is a safe place to offer our poems and fiction and personal narratives. It is not a writing workshop in the “work chop” tradition; this is why I like the group.

Still, I am left with this lapse: I have not written, nor have I attended writing group, nor have I …

I have been in a shame spiral, which is a good way to procrastinate.

So this past week, I followed my own advice and began writing again and not worrying about how good it is, just holding myself accountable to showing up on the page.

One day at a time.