A friend texted me last week.
“Do you ever read Anne Lamott?”
“Of course. She wrote one of my favorite books on writing, Bird by Bird.”
“She’s coming to Ann Arbor in October. Wanna go see her?”
Then, I pulled Anne off the shelf and began to read.
I’ve been struggling to write for months.
I’m working more.
I don’t have the time.
And there’s too much to say.
So, I keep pushing it aside and saying, “I’ll be back.”
I mean, really, how do I put all this down on the page?
But I know that’s always where the sense starts.
Meaning appears through the words that show up when my fingers hit the keys.
It doesn’t happen on command, but unexpectedly, after days and days of discipline, word by word by word, I begin to see what I think, what I feel, what matters to me.
Anne Lamott reminded me that some days I’m not going to know what to put down. I’m going to stare at blankness for a while. And when I finally manage to write something , it’s going to look empty and useless.
“But don’t stop,” she says, “Commit to getting three hundred words on the page every day.” This one is number two hundred eight.
I’ve been doing yoga for a few years. The first time I tried, I could barely reach my toes when bending from the waist. I couldn’t hold a down dog for more than a few seconds. I just finished twenty minutes of practice — moving easily through a series of poses.
It didn’t happen quickly, but one day, about two years in, I noticed that I was strong.
So, I keep doing yoga, and I keep writing down word by word by word.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.