He said that he could probably give me any line to begin with and I could turn it into something wonderful. It was a sweet compliment, full of a certain faith and trust in my writing that I have yet to fully feel for myself. I wouldn’t mind being handed those first lines. That’s always the most difficult part, finding that inkling of an idea. What do I want to write about today?
I try to post something here daily, not because I have much to say or many ways to say it, but because this is what it means to be a writer. It is work. It is the daily practice of chipping away at the surface of things. It is continuing, despite the fact that what I am creating is not exactly what I want it to be. If I waited around for perfect moments or perfect ideas, nothing would ever get done.
The important thing, for me anyway, is to get something done. Some days I get lucky and write something I can almost love. Other days aren’t so fruitful. Still, I am nothing if not prolific.
All of us are artists. Some of us claim the label, those who paint or sculpt or write or sing, those who devote their lives to such important work. But it is in all of us, whether we claim it or not, to create. There is art as we all know it, but there is also the art of parenting, the art of loving, the art of surviving. There is the art of waking up each morning and contributing beauty to the world. All of us are capable of this important work, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Not everything we create is going to be a masterpiece. This is one of the most significant things I have learned, and continue to learn, and will probably always be learning. Some days will suck. They will suck the happiness and beauty right out of you. You will feel as though nothing of value can be created from such bleak emptiness. But you will be wrong.
Because the most important thing any of us can do on those days, on any day, is to pick up the metaphorical (or literal) pen. It is to write one word and then another. It is to keep chugging along. It is to get something done. It is to nudge open the flower of creativity growing within you. It is to watch it bloom upon the page.
And yes, maybe what comes from it will be awful. That’s okay. Really, it is. Awful work has more value than no work at all. It is, if nothing else, a reminder of what we don’t want. It fuels us to do better. It makes us want to try again.
This is what I tell myself when the blinking cursor taunts me, when the day has already felt long enough and my eyes begin to droop with the heaviness of sleep. Just get something done. Write something. Create something. Add something to the world.
Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what art is? Just a series of first lines that are transformed into something more. Just the way we rise each morning and continually contribute beauty to the world – in words, in song, in colors, in kindness, in love. Just the way I sit here, delighting in the early spring breeze pouring through my open window, telling you about it.
We are all artists. Claim the label. Understand that it is your job to create. Take that work seriously. Go get something done. Stop waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect idea. Be prolific. Contribute to the masterpiece that is our one and only world. Pick up the pen. Write one word. Then another. Fill the pages of your life.