**The next 15 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group.**
Up until three days ago I used the same header I’ve used for previous 500 WAD challenges. Here is an example: **The next 20 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group. Often I phone it in.**
But that. That thing at the end there. What is that?
Sunday night I was writing the second of two parts about my recent jury duty. The actual experience was bewilderingly traumatic: immediately after the district attorney dismissed me, Juror Number 10, I walked out of the heavy courtroom doors and started crying. Right there in the sterile hallway. I fumbled an email to my therapist for an emergency appointment, while my body shook with a low tremor. I couldn’t explain why I felt the way I did, I just knew it ran deep.
For me as a writer, an infrequent writer, articulating the truth of emotions and experiences onto a page is my only aim. I have no other objective but to write in a way to be understood. So I grew frustrated and disappointed a month later when I sat down to tell a story that I could still feel when I closed my eyes. I really tried. Eventually the writing poured out of me, but like tar. Thick, messy tar. I could not reach it.
A few years ago, Ira Glass offered some really beautiful advice about creativity. I remember it making its way around social media and the tens of times I saw it in my feed, I listened nearly every time. I vowed to make more art.
Of course I didn’t actually make more art.
But! I did actually remember that Ira Glass piece when I sat down to write about jury duty. As I started to publish the post, I glanced at that little disclaimer at the top of my work: Often I phone it in. In that moment, I realized that I didn’t want to let myself be the kind of writer who makes excuses for her writing. Not that it’s not true—sometimes I do phone it in and sometimes there are really good reasons for that—but there are several other things that are also true:
- Writing is messy and that’s why in the published world there are editors. Unless I start sending my posts to an actual editor (cough *Joslyn* cough), I have to be okay with a certain amount of clunk;
- The more I write the easier it becomes, more or less and:
- I am not alone. There are lots of other people who feel exactly like I do—trying to negotiate the difference between their own taste and what they put on the page.
And I want that to be okay.