The other day my mother forwarded me some Writer's Guild stuff. "You should consider submitting something," she wrote. "And write more. You're SUCH a good writer."
I think she's a little biased, being my mom and all. I mean, I notice this myself; I congratulate my kid on being SO AWESOME at something when what I'm really complimenting is his progress, not necessarily his skill from an objective perspective. He's 6, so that's acceptable. My mom has been reading my stuff since I was an angsty teenager, so she's seen a fair bit of improvement...but that doesn't make me Shakespeare.
But, I think about it a lot. I want to write, I replied. But I don't have time, I'm busy, my head is crowded. In a year maybe, when this thing is done, when that thing is done. When my kid is in high school, when I can take time off, when I'm retired.
You know the drill.
My mom responded with an oft-cited nugget of wisdom from a local writer: Just write 15 minutes a day, she said. Commit to that 15 minutes, that's all, but maybe sometimes you'll write more.
I want to write, I said again, but I don't know what to write. I need mental white space to come up with ideas. I need less stress, more time. My 15 minutes of writing would be nothing but complaining and crappy haikus. What would I write?
Write what you know, she said promptly. Finish the complaining and then write what you know.
(My mom can be really annoying when I'm trying to be lazy.)
Okay. Write what you know. So I'm writing what I know....which is writing about not writing.