Write Every Damn Day, or #writeeverydamnday
Why? Why do I say to write every damn day? When we create a habit that sustains us, it’s important to continue to do it, even when we don’t want to. I used to think that my daily writing was frivolous. I thought it was a bit of a road to nowhere. I didn’t write for a specific audience, on a specific topic, with a specific goal. I just wrote.
It started at Starbucks. I’d nestle into the comfy chairs in the corner and write. Usually it was connected to an advice book on writing like Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones or Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I began with a prescribed exercise and eventually veered off into the musing and reflecting, almost a window into the ever changing monkey mind of my brain.
I never considered this activity as anything other than a whimsical thing I liked to do. Sometimes I hand wrote in my notebook, and other times I typed on my computer, but always with a joyful smile and cup of Starbucks coffee. As the years progressed, the drink of choice changed, became more complex like the triple grande one pump of sugar free vanilla cappuccino or the decadent coffee frappuccino in the summer, but it was the comfy chair and bustle of Starbucks that drew me.
In the early 2000s, when I was teaching at The Fenn School, I’d grade papers in Starbucks and then take a break to muse. I found great comfort with my writing and my chair, but in reflecting back, I realize it was so much more than that. The writing itself was critical, important and necessary, and not as whimsical as I once thought.
It wasn’t writing to “nowhere,” it was really the writing “now here.” In those days I did not have a mindfulness practice, nor a yoga one, so for me, it was the way that I settled into presence. Presence with my pen and paper, dropping into a quiet space, amongst the hustle and bustle of Starbucks, to find myself.
But there was another element of my Starbucks writing that I now realize. It was a community. In the early days of my divorce, after I’d found yoga and began a mindfulness practice, I still relished the writing mornings, so it was more than finding presence on the page, it was the community of the early morning coffee patrons. Being immersed in the collective energy of the morning commuters, parents dropping children off at school, and a familiar group of readers and writers in the morning, fed my soul.
How often do we get a chance to write, paint, create in community? Some like their alone time to engage in a passion, but others, like me, thrive on community, and in reflecting here today, on the power of writing, I realize I’d forgotten the pleasure in connecting to the collective while doing it.
In many ways, this exercise today illustrates what Joan Didion once wrote, “I write entirely to find our what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”
When we write to write, to experience our own musings, thoughts, and beliefs, we discover more about who we are, who we are in our most authentic selves, who we are to ourselves.