Anne Lamott

This is day one.

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.

Beware, these thoughts are trickling in at 9pm on a Saturday evening. I'm giving myself 30 minutes to write, the typical time it takes to craft three sentences at best.

This morning, I meant to sleep in. No plans are rare, not needing an alarm even rarer. Instead of lingering in my dreams or the weekend quietude, I bolted out of bed early and almost automatically, landing in front of the laptop. I opened my drafts, intending to write. Thoughts had woken themselves up and there would be no rest till they found themselves worked out on a page. Eventually, I lost myself to the internet abyss where I continued on in my usual way—ditching writing and clicking dozens of new tabs to inhale others' words and thoughts and creations. 

A few hours, gone. No contributions made. Not even a simple thank you given to this generous bunch—the writers and thinkers and creators before me. I have a digital stockpile of information and little to show for it. I've been taking in and not giving back.

After accomplishing nothing and dragging myself to make a fried egg, I pulled Bird by Bird off the dresser where covers are sorted in rainbow hues. Sometimes I forget they're more than decoration. When I do remember to read, I often get my hiney kicked... like today, by Anne Lamott.

Turns out, I'm darn selfish. 

I've done little with the skill or passion I have in writing. It's not been maintained through practice or challenged through discipline. To deviate from my old, attention-seeking days, I've overcorrected by deliberately keeping words and ideas to myself. Yet here I am, benefitting from what people give to the world, feeling connected and understood by them. Something is wrong here.

The books I adore only exist because their writers were generous. People who risked rejection and gave their time, honesty, resources, and whole hearts to write because that's what they were made to do. People who believed the act of writing was its own reward. I'm not like that, but I want to be. 

Today, September 1st, I'm aiming to write daily for 30 days. I'm curious to see why I'm drawn to certain content—specifically of those internet tabs lined in a row. I'll be asking myself, how will I respond to such and such compelling essay? Why does this art move me? What emotions are evoked? Whose work should I celebrate, thank, or promote today? And how might I learn to be a better giver, through words, and on here? 

That was more like 90 minutes, but hey, the words arrived before midnight. I'll see you tomorrow for day two. Now, I set my alarm for church and rest.