“I don’t enjoy writing, I enjoy having written.” Dorothy Parker
My main reason for starting this blog is because I think it is a great step towards becoming a writer. I am a writer in the sense that I have written: short stories, poems, magazine articles, tons of research papers, editorials, I’ve even written a thesis; but I often feel unqualified to call myself a writer because I don’t write consistently. I sit down in front of my computer like I’ve been put in time out. In elementary school the common punishment for failing to follow the class rules was to stand in the corner and face the wall. My computer has become the equivalent of that wall.
I find every excuse possible to avoid writing. I need to do the dishes. There’s a load of laundry that isn’t going to wash itself. I want to read another chapter of my book before my son comes home from school. It’s so pretty outside; I’ll just stare out the window for a while. I think I just heard my phone ding with a new text message. I find myself avoiding writing like us Muslims avoid pork and alcohol. (“There’s no writing in this, is there?”)
Like Ms. Parker, I love having written. I love seeing my name and words in print. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love the artistry of writing, how plain old English words can come together to make beautiful sentences. But getting to the writing desk is like getting into the dentist’s chair and what’s worse is the knowledge that— I really don’t have to do this. I don’t have to write. No one is forcing me to do this—except me. I feel compelled to write. I compose stories and sentences in my head. I even dream that I’m writing. My head practically bursts with ideas and words and I feel so alive and full of energy and then I sit in front the computer and…nothing. All the pent up emotion and energy deflates like a balloon with too much air. Pppffffttt. Empty.
But eventually I get beyond that point. The air comes back in, slowly now. It’s like the rush of foam that rises when you pour a fresh Coke into a glass, then the settling. The spark is still there, it’s bubbling, but the initial buzz has faded. Oddly enough, that’s when the real writing begins. Not the foam but the bubbles. That’s where the writing is. Because the real writing doesn’t move as fast as the ideas. Our fingers can’t keep up with the rush of ideas that flow to the surface. We have to let them settle first, because writing is a process. You have to sip it slowly, not gulp it down. Sip it slowly so the bubbles can last.