The words don’t have to be perfect on the first round.
Today is not a good day. It’s not a good day for writing. It’s not a good day for parenting. It’s not a good day for remote learning. Today has been difficult and, at times, downright discouraging. Days like this do not lend themselves to inspired creativity. Days like today are hard-fought battles for every word.
Days like today require me to show up, to write, even though I’d rather not. Resistance looms large before me and my instinct is to turn and run, maybe try tomorrow. But I’ve been doing this long enough now to know I’d rather show up and write something that’s not all that good than to write nothing at all.
It’s about the discipline. It’s about the habit. It’s about me being a writer who writes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone through seasons where I’ve had to be okay with being a writer who isn’t writing, but today, I’m going to fight the battle against resistance and eke some words out onto the page. And I’m going to be okay even though those words amount only to a couple of weak paragraphs.
Even though my word count is only 257 words, I claim today’s writing a victory worth celebrating because it was hard-fought and brave in the face of circumstances and resistance.
It was brave because I didn’t want to show up. I didn’t want to write because my day has been beyond hard, my emotions are a wreck, my mind is weary. None of that lends itself to writing. Actually, it doesn’t lend itself to feeling inspired. But I don’t need to be inspired in order to write. Sometimes inspiration finds me and sometimes I hunt it down by the brave act of showing up to work.
It was brave because the words didn’t match the images — the scene — I see so clearly in my mind. And, honestly, I’m a little spoiled because capturing those scenes in my head is usually easier. But these words lay the foundation I’ll need to move forward.
It was brave because my inner critic was desperate for me to delete words and sentences and even an entire paragraph. But I chose to leave them. I chose to let them serve as a scaffolding for the work this story requires from me. Writing involves as much rewriting as it does writing the initial draft. Those words may be deleted, but not today.
It was brave because my inner critic loudly declared my word choices barely those of an elementary school novice and my descriptions were cliche. My critic shouted over my words with every tap of the keyboard, urging me to quit for today, trying to convince me it’s no big deal if I don’t put any words on the page. But sometimes the brave thing to do is allow myself to write poorly today.
And so, I chose to show up. I chose to write because even writing awful words is better than no words. Showing up at the keyboard every day is as much about the discipline, the daily writing habit I sometimes have to fight for, as it about following the story my characters have to tell.
Show up today, friends. Give yourself permission to write weak dialogue and cliche descriptions knowing you can edit them later. Choose to be brave.
Write today, even if it feels like a hard-fought battle. Be brave. Show up. Put words on the page and know that even when inspiration doesn’t strike, miracles happen in the act of creating. Even imperfect creating. Imperfect words. Because often that’s where the best writing comes from.