I’ve been staring at this page for ten minutes. Ten minutes. Ten minutes of the air conditioner’s drone from the bedroom. Ten minutes of periodic yowling from my geriatric cat. Ten minutes of my Italian greyhound, Ned, softly whining because it’s past his dinner time, he thinks. Ten minutes of the semi-silence of a compact urban life.
And even in these ten minutes, I’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking. Trying to come up with something to write; something to share. It’s got to be profound. It must meet my very stringent requirements. It can’t just be an exercise. It must Matter. It must Mean Something. These ten minutes might be all I have before: the kid wakes up, the cat throws up, the dog finds something underneath the refrigerator and starts digging, digging, digging the vintage parquet floors.
Ten minutes before everything is ruined.
I used to have a lot more than ten minutes a day to write. I used to do it first – before the to-do list; before checking messages; before everything else. I pledged myself 300 words a day, no matter what, and I kept it up for years. I remembered bus conversations and made streetside observations, profiles of people I used to know and the cities I called home. It was me from age 23 to 30, in one giant draft. Now, I’ve written professionally, extensively, but it’s not the good stuff in those 200 pages. It’s how-tos and interviews with rad ladies, web copy and other stories. But it’s not my heart.
So I’m telling you, I’m starting up again. It’s back to the 300 words a day habit. It’s back to jotting down conversations when you don’t think I’m listening. It’s back to recording what I see.
My 300 words start now. I mean now.