I know very well that for every day I do not write, there is atrophy: Insights and momentum lost, characters going flat, creative energy evanescing.  Meanwhile my personal internal critic performs Incredible Hulk type maneuvers and begins on Guilt, Supersized.  “You’ve truly screwed it up now.  No point going back.  Too much work.  You’re not really a writer anyway; if you had any talent at all you’ve frittered it away.  Go do something you’re good at.”  (Of course, if I listen to this bit of bad advice, in a day or two he’ll be pointing out that I’m not good at anything and can’t even tie my shoes properly.)

And yet, my life as I have chosen to live it, often gets in the way of daily writing.  Take my job, for example.  I’m a mental health Crisis Response Specialist.  This means I’m on call a lot, and I might go to work at 8 am, work a full day, get called out at 6 pm and be out past midnight, then get up and do it all again in the morning.  Then there is my family – school starts tomorrow and there are school supplies and schedule adjustments.  There is always and forever laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and meals. We spent the last three days painting.  I mean, really, all day every day for three days.  I’m not talking putting paint on canvas here.  I’m talking about painting high sloping ceilings, a form of refined and exquisite torture that should be reserved for the punishment of vicious criminals.  And yes, I could have done a little writing in the evenings, if I could have kept my eyes open.  I am weak.  I slept.

Now, in defiance of the guilt monster critic, I need to get back to writing.  All the resistance in the world rises up in revolt, and the excuses come hard and fast.  I’m cold, I’m tired, anything I write tonight will be garbage, what’s the point, maybe I should just go to bed and try again tomorrow.  Only, as I’ve just pointed out, for every day of writing lost, there is a penalty to be paid.

I’m reminded of a scene from the third Matrix movie, where Neo is fighting an apparently hopeless battle.  Agent Smith asks, “why, Mr. Anderson, why do you persist?” And Neo, beaten and bloody, responds, “because I choose to.”  And sometimes that’s what the writing comes down to.  There are the good days, the fun days, the exciting rewarding days.  And the days that I do it simply because I choose.

Guess it’s one of them days and I’d better get back at it.

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