True story: there will always be reasons to not write. Good reasons.
Lately, my list has looked like this: Fending off a cold, and then another cold, and then a stomach bug. (Um, immune system much??) Hosting a lovely relative over a long weekend; gearing up for a milestone birthday for another relative; visiting a third relative who's going through a hard time.
And then of course there are weird moods, a solar eclipse, bad nights of sleep, a bewitching young corgi who would like me to play fetch all the time, as well as a totally different novel project singing its siren song...
Universal Truth of Writing: If I look for them, I'll always find reasons to not write.
Amended Universal Truth of Writing: Okay, actually I don't even have to try and look. They just show up, one way or another: slipping into my thoughts, sliding onto my calendar, ambushing me in the middle of a day.
There will always be reasons, good reasons, to not write.
Which is why this past weekend I hit up Target for some beautiful things. It's back-to-school season, after all, and I don't know about you, but my work area needed some love and refreshment. And a bit more beauty in my work space helps amplify the invitation to write. It can help anchor me, when I'm prone to distraction. (Which is all the time.)
So I stocked up on all the basics—pens, composition notebooks, paper clips, Post-It notes. I replaced my broken stapler, I finally picked up a small bulletin board to showcase my latest favorite quotes, and I found a sweet little desk organizer to corral my various pen mugs.
But then I went a little further: I found a sparkly paperweight that makes me happy. I picked up a white marble bowl and tipped my copper-colored paper clips into it—which means it's gone right past functional into truly beautiful.
And then I found a decorative snail made out of mango wood, which made me laugh so hard that I had to bring it home too. Because it seemed to say, in a wise, patient, snaily voice: even if you're moving more slowly than you'd like, you can still make something beautiful.
Because there are always reasons to write, too.
Persevering at a difficult-yet-rewarding craft, making amazing worlds out of nouns and verbs and character arcs and plot structures, weaving a story about family and love and hope and adventure.
There are those character voices that I know so well by now, and a land that exists only in my head and my fingertips and my drafts. So I've lit one of my new candles, and I'm buoyed up by the sight of fresh sunflowers in a vase beside my keyboard.
And now it's time to step back in, to "fill the form," as Julia Cameron calls it. To do the work.
Again, and again, and again.