After a long summer break with the children, where only the odd sentence has floated around my head; a quick post-it note has been scribbled late at night about an article idea or a bit of prose, I faced the task of sitting at my desk this morning with a little trepidation.
The notebook sat open on my desk. A blank space of white, empty pages with straight, unnerving lines stared back up at me, daring me to write on it. Daring me to put down words after words. To create sentences; syntax, conjunctions, verbs, grammar.
The task of facing this daily tyrant sometimes becomes too much. Anyone who writes, or creates, must feel this. Some days I push the book away; I’m through with it. Like a jilted lover, it languishes, half-spent, at the back of the drawer, unopened for days. I tidy round it. I polish the desk. I fiddle with paperclips. I consider a different life.
Then. As the days knit together, my hand feels numb, waking up, like after a case of pins and needles. I itch to write, like a word-junkie. Something, anything. There’s nothing I can think of wanting more at this time, in this place, physically or metaphorically.
Resigned, I pull out the notebook from its languishing spot. I hold it in front of me, like a lover I know is bad for me but I can’t quite throw away. I take a pen, a pencil, a crayon; it really no longer matters. I put the instrument to the starched white page and write the first words I can muster. The first words in days, weeks even: I surrender.
This is my life, I think; nothing else matters without this.
I know the writing process can be torturous, deflating when work is rejected or, worse, ignored completely. Yet, I keep coming back for more. Why is that? What is it about creative work that has a slightly addictive, guilty pleasure about it? I have no idea. But I know it is good to be back at my desk. And I know that I will not be able to stop this craving to create as long as I have breath in my body and words in my head.