The first thing I learned after a week of writing every day for 30 minutes is that while I want my writing space to look like this photo of a woman sitting in a cafe with the perfect cappuccino and serene mood lighting, I can write almost anywhere. I mean, I wrote in a moving car that was transporting two jabbering kids and blasting Nirvana. This was an important practical lesson for me because one of my main excuses for not writing has always been lack of a clean (quiet) well lighted place. Once I realized I could actually make the writing happen, I learned a few other things worth mentioning.
About a month ago I went to hear a friend speak at Fort Collins Startup Week, a conference by and for local entrepreneurs. Her presentation on how to sell your services without feeling like a smarmy jackass (not her actual title) was affirming and encouraging. I left feeling confident and ready to tackle the day. So why 10 minutes later when I pulled up in front of my house did I stay slouched down inside my parked car like a getaway driver looking for cover? I sat there scrolling through Facebook on my phone like it was my damned job.
Except it wasn’t my job. My real work was inside at my desk. I had tons of work to do for my clients. Lots of business planning to attend to. And several writing projects to work on. Yet I sat in my car, scrolling. I could give you some bullshit reason why I was avoiding my day, but really it comes down to fear and the resistance that follows. What I wanted to do was go in and immediately start on my writing. But what I felt I should do was take care of my clients and their needs first. I have grown tired of putting myself last, always pushing my writing to the last thing on the list.
My writing practice has gone off the rails and getting back on track has been an enormous struggle. I am tired, and angry, and sad. Every day I wake up, look at my phone and greet the day’s tragedy or injustice. A bombing. A shooting. Another sexual predator exposed. Another assault on our democracy by Congress and this monstrous presidency. It’s exhausting. And I’m white straight, cisgendered, and middle class and thus reasonably sheltered from the fallout. I’m one of the lucky ones.
The retreat* is over. My flight back from California was delayed, so I didn’t arrive home until well after midnight. Somehow this felt right. I crept back into my life, hour by hour, mile by mile in the dark of night, returning from my encampment in the wilderness to the confines of respectable society with its dinner parties and playdates. I snuck in and planted my seeds of dissent throughout the house. I am a renegade after all.