Discipline vs. Desire

There is a big difference.

fork in road

I haven’t been writing… actually, that is only a partial truth. I have written all sorts of starts. Some really great beginnings I haven’t made the time to finish and other charlatan leads that ultimately lead me nowhere but down a rabbit trail that feels more like a wild-goose chase. Thoughts go unfinished and sentences trail off with no conclusion. My “drafts” portion of my Dashboard is as long as my arm…

And so because I can’t seem to finish anything, I often find myself starting nothing new. And before you know it, I begin to simply write less and less. And when this transpires, there is built-up angst, and when there is built-up angst, it’s difficult to write, because where do I begin when there is no ending to launch from?

Begin anywhere, this is what they say. I know I should. But it’s harder still sometimes than others. And emotional tensions as of late in my life have made it even more difficult. Overcome by emotion I find myself dissolving into tears rather than pouring that same powerful energy into words. I sit, paralyzed, floundering amidst the raging storm of words and emotion that plague my mind so heavily my stomach can feel their weight. Rather than leaning into them, pinning them down, naming them, granting them a voice, a platform, a life… and ultimately establishing order from the chaos that rules my mind, which for me, is so strangely healing, I just wallow. It feels masochistic just saying it.

And it’s really easy to beat myself up with all the harsh language of self-criticism. Why don’t I just do it? Or buck up and buckle down… get some self-discipline for God’s sake. Writing is a job right? Or at least it ought to be if you ever want to take it anywhere. This is what they keep telling me. But I already have a day-job… and Prolific Writer is hardly my title.

But I keep coming back to this thought: it’s far less a matter of discipline than it is one of desire.

I always desire, in the broad sense, to write. Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, I desire to have the desire to write. But sometimes, it just feels like another thing on the daunting, ever-growing “what you haven’t accomplished and probably never will” list [in reference to my to-do lists… because that is what they feel like most of the time].

But discipline does breed desire. And so it’s an ebb and flow, a symbiotic relationship of sorts. You give one, you get more of the other, and it follows that the latter in turn spurs on the former, and so on. But the longer you neglect both, the more difficult it becomes to muster either.

And yet, begin anywhere. When there are a million loose and frayed ends, on paper and in my heart, and certainly twice as many topics I could write more passionately about, sometimes when the emotions are just too strong or too overwhelming or scattered… you just have to start SOMEwhere to get the juices flowing.

So here goes nothing… or, perhaps, if I’m lucky, SOMEthing…


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