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Sometimes You Do Need Perfect

"Write even when the world is chaotic. You don't need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement." If you look online for writing advice, quotes, or sayings, you will find many like this one. They all say something along the lines of write when and where you can, you don't need anything particular to get started, you don't need things to be perfect. I call b.s.

It is true that you can squeeze in a scene or page into the time it takes the water to boil for Wednesday night dinner if you're in the midst of that all-too-rare time when a current fiction or nonfiction project is flying along. But in the sticky spots—those fragile beginnings when the blank space is more frightening than anything Hollywood can dream up, those tortuous middles more tormenting than an analgesic-free root canal—hijacked moments are never enough. We need time to settle in to our minds, to allow the muse to come and sit beside us. Time to slip away into whatever world we writers enter when we're truly in flow. Time like that can't be borrowed or stolen. It can't be interrupted by children's demands or household chores. And it certainly can't be harnessed in the space of a commercial break. Unfortunately, right now, I feel like my days exist merely as a long line of demands strung together, and my muse is nowhere in sight. This feeling will pass, I know. My reality will change. School will start (praise the lord!), and life will settle down. It always does. But, right now, when it's been months since I so much as even opened my novel in progress and longer still since I penned a decent poem, it feels like things will never change. I crave that space. Those moments. That time. Thankfully, I've written before about making the time to write. Rereading my words, I'm struck by the cyclical nature of the creative process. It ebbs and flows, often influenced by the seasons and the moon. It's a process we writers must make peace with, even as we push ourselves to work through the lows. I'm glad my previous self knows what she's doing.

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