I haven’t written anything in a long time. I avoid making eye contact with my desk, unable to endure my computer’s reproachful blinking cursor, the dreaded blank screen. I don’t have writer’s block exactly, more like writer’s paralysis. And I finally figured out why.
Both my kids are in school.
As in: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to get serious about my writing.”
(And: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to hit the gym every morning.” And: “When both my kids are in school my house is going to be so clean and organized!”)
But mostly: “When both my kids are in school I’m going to get serious about my writing.”
For five years, the time when both kids would be in school all day was a distant, hazy dream on the horizon. When it arrived my days would open wide and my fingers would fly over the keys leaving reams of smart witticisms, vulnerable admissions, and startling insights in their wake.
Suddenly the time was upon me. No more excuses. It was always just a problem with time, right? Or was it?
Maybe it was never time at all. Maybe the problem lies within. Maybe my fingers flying over the keys don’t produce reams of wit, vulnerability, and insight. Maybe I lack the talent entirely. I found myself finally at the starting gate. The pressure overwhelmed. If I fail now then I’m nothing.
And so, paralysis.
This is a crossroad. I can go quietly away and no one would even know that there was a time when I promised myself “when both my kids are in school…” That would be easy. It’s not failure if I don’t try. Especially if no one even knows. Maybe I’ll just focus on the gym and the house first.
But then I went and wrote this, totally screwing up my plan. Shit. I’m an idiot. Am I an idiot with no creative talent or passion, or an idiot with all the passion and not quite enough of the talent, or an idiot with passion and maybe some talent too? Am I an idiot willing to work for it? An idiot willing to stand up and say that I’m going to reach for the brass ring, whether or not I grab on be damned? An idiot who says that the only failure is the failure to try?
Just what kind of bloody idiot am I? What will my story be when I look back at this juncture in my life? I don’t know. Let’s see, shall we? Maybe it all started when I sat down to write this, intimidated by that cursor no more.