You know that movie montage?
The one where the prima ballerina/star quarterback/tennis legend was all uptight and not able to access their true gift anymore until they broke free of their structure and danced with kids/played a pickup game with their old neighborhood pals/volleyed on their childhood court and remembered why they loved it in the first place?
You get the idea.
And you know that other movie montage?
The one where the ice skater/spelling bee contender/musician wasn't sure they had what it takes to make it until they worked for hours and hours, denying all else, their body shaking and sweat pouring off their face as they proved their mettle?
I'm stuck in the space between those movie montages. At least the non-Hollywood space.
For months I've been getting up between 4:30 and 5:00 most weekday mornings to write these posts. The alarm would go off, and my feet were on the ground before I could take a second breath. I cherished those dark, quiet hours with my computer. I was doing exactly what the writers say is the key to writing - butt in seat, daily practice. And my blog - you guys - was my taskmaster.
I didn't become a superstar, but I was on a role.
Recently - is it the heat of summer, the tiredness from my job, the daily struggles of life? - when the alarm goes off, I'm sluggish. I stop the ringing and lie still in bed. Several mornings I simply haven't gotten up. On others, I've moved to my computer and sat staring at the screen, empty. In homage to my taskmaster, I posted on these pages even when I felt removed from my words.
Last week, I broke the rules. I slept in, leaving the page empty. This week, I did it again.
I keep thinking of the saying - If you want to be a writer, write. But at what cost? The destruction of your love of writing? Sending words out into the world that disappoint you?
I'm being a little hysterical, of course. Getting up early to write will not destroy my love of writing - at least not long-term. But will it help? Will I work through this and get to the other side? The side where I feel inspired again? Is now the time where I sweat it out and prove my mettle? Or is now the time where I sleep in and write poetry and emoji fiction and snippets of love stories on the weekend?
In the past, I've dropped the practice on a million different things, each time proving to myself (at least in my own story of my life) that I do not have what it takes.
At this crossroads, the question is whether I double down or set myself free?