I finished my first five days of my thousand-words-per-day commitment with 5173 words. And I am here to tell you that it was excruciating. But also wonderful, at least in retrospect. Luckily, as with birth, at least for me, the retrospective state came immediately. As soon as Leo emerged, I thought, I could do that again. And as soon as the typing is over, I am filled with a pleasure at having written. Today, for the first time, I also enjoyed parts of the writing itself.
I am sorry to note that I wrote the day’s better words at night. Night is not what I consider my best time. In fact, night is the only time that my brain is working so slowly I can abide, and even crave, television. What I am learning, however, is that my brain is not the writer in the family. Its exhaustion at night might be a boon for the storyteller in me. My brain scoffs at the storyteller, fills her with doubt and flings derision at her. This is really what makes the writing unpleasant. My brain has three opinions for every word I type. It’s exhausting.
But I am writing now to say that I did it for the first five days. I am juggling a heck of a lot else, and not altogether well, but still and somehow, I wrote. And something is developing, finding its way, slowly emerging.
Last night, Leo laughed for a good, full minute, in his sleep. It was amazing to hear and see. I think there is something for us writers to learn there. Writing is more like falling asleep than it is like doing the family finances. It is about trust and some kind of external safety that allows for vulnerability and humor and the generous, human risk of storytelling.
Try this: assume your brain is not the same as your storyteller. Find ways to nurture your storyteller, to play and dance and create with her. If you find yourself laughing in your sleep, you are definitely on your way.