Commitment to Write

I committed to myself that I would write at least two posts on this blog every day this year. So far, I have fulfilled the commitment. It is not always easy. Some days, I’ve posted only short bursts of words here, opting to invest my creativity in things better shared elsewhere, or not shared at all.

Today, I am writing just to write. My creativity seems to have fled into the woods, attempting to use speed and distance to escape the wolves.

I look out the window, hoping to find inspiration in the trees the ground littered with leaves and dead branches. Instead, I see grey mist and white fog and the dark outlines of trees against drabness. The only patches of color I see are the red stripes and blue background of the stars on my neighbors’ American flag, and the strip of green ground cover next to their driveway. I suppose seeing the red, white, and blue is an appropriate symbol that we’ve just celebrated Independence Day, though even that bit of symbolism does nothing for my creativity today.

Creativity is not something that responds well to commands. It is not an engine started with the turn of a key. Instead, it resides in a place within that responds only to certain stimuli, and only when the context is right. The trick is determining what stimuli are necessary for the right context.

Someone more analytical than I might keep a record—a diary of sorts—tracking the “sparks” that served as stimuli for creative writing and the context in which those stimuli worked their magic. There was a time I might have done that, when I valued my analytical abilities more than I do today. Today, though, I look at such an exercise as having value equivalent to counting all the leaves on all the trees in all the world; impressive information, to be sure, but with no practical application in the chaotic real world.

If I am being honest with myself this morning—and I should be—I suppose it’s not the lack of creativity that is keeping me from “creative” writing, it’s the lack of will. There are thousands of ideas floating around in my head and literally dozens of posts I’ve started but not finished. I could use one of those sparks if I really wanted to write. I could use the prompts from writers’ contests that I’ve intended to enter. But I just don’t want to. Perhaps it’s laziness that’s decided to come to spend some time in my brain. For the moment, it doesn’t matter, for I’ve fulfilled my obligation to myself by writing what I’ve written.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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