“As is” is a portal to creation, to new life. “As soon as” is a form of delusion and therefore soul death. -Anne Lamott
Anne wrote these words in an essay on her encouragement to writers on the NaNoWriMo website, an acronym for National Novel Writing Month which starts every November 1st.
Oh Anne, could we meet for coffee? Your words sounded like whispers from heaven and felt like a kick in the ass, which is what good friends do to you when they know something is important: whisper kick.
I had thought to commit to NaNoWriMo2019 and once again get back to the novel I am still ‘writing’ (it’s going to be good, I promise!) instead of pursuing a blog post every day during the month of November. And quite frankly, that would have been much easier to fail at. I could have at least hidden a little more easily under the premise of writing a novel. No one would know I am actually playing Words with Friends or binge watching Netflix while I am holed up in my office with a sign on the door “MOM IS WRITING. LEAVE HER ALONE: which by the way is a much different sign than “DO NOT DISTURB: DOING YOGA” which apparently means disturb as often as possible.
Novels are this mysterious thing you can keep to yourself and no one knows except you if you have written five words or a thousand in that little window of time you desperately and adamantly carve out for yourself and keep safe from all of the SHOULDS and HAVE TOs.
I decided to write 30 Blog Posts so my accountability would be more public and therefore more painful if I fail to write everyday “AS IS” in the middle of my personal and work chaos, without excuse or fear.
But blog posts are instantly public and can make me feel so exposed if they are written and published before I think I have made my thoughts clear. I can’t tell you how many times I have pushed the PUBLISH button on WordPress and then thought “OMG what have I done?” And to commit to writing a post everyday for 30 days when it sometimes takes me an hour to write twenty words, well, I know there is going to be a lot of that in November.
But I’m okay with that. Because I looked back to the last time I committed to 30 blog posts in November which was in 2014 and I only wrote sixteen posts, which continues to haunt me. You see, I made a commitment to myself and didn’t keep it, for various reasons that I find to be understandable but also unforgivable. If I can’t keep a promise to myself, how can I be trusted with other people in this world?
Writers write. They don’t talk about writing. And no Anne, I don’t want to be 70 and look back and think “Dang, why didn’t I pursue the one thing that is more important to me than breathing?” So thank you for reminding me why I committed to thirty days. Because there is only one thing that is more painful than bad writing and that’s not writing at all.
Is there is something that you are not doing that you will look back and think “I regret not doing that; my life is not complete because I chose ‘as soon as’ instead of ‘as is’? If the answer is yes, oh my dear friend START, right now in the middle of all your life chaos.