Since the original cast recording of the Broadway sensation Hamilton was released, I've realized through a single line that I completely deserve my middle name (and being named after our "ten dollar Founding Father without a father"):
Song: My Shot
Hamilton: Oh, am I talkin' too loud? Sometimes I get over excited, shoot off at the mouth.
I talk. A lot. Sometimes too much. And sometimes too loud. And the huge majority of the time, too fast and over zealous. I know this about myself and I try to control it when I can, but it's always been a part of me. Maybe that's a Hamilton gene I just can't escape.
The lines that I wish I deserved are these:
Burr: How do you write like you're running out of time? Write day and night like you're running out of time? /.../ How do you write like tomorrow won't arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write every second you're alive?
I used to be like this. I used to spend hours writing, writing, writing with so many words and stories flowing out of me, nearly falling asleep at an old desktop computer after finishing my homework just so I could keep writing. I filled notebooks with story ideas, titles, paragraphs, pages, whole chapters, character descriptions, themes, anything that had captured my imagination at the time. I wrote like there was no tomorrow, like I needed it as much as air. And a piece of me truly did.
Now, I can go long stretches without writing, and that bothers me. I like writing! I'm doing it right now! I'm a freelance writer for crying out loud! The problem is my old writing habits of fiction, poetry, and personal essays have dwindled. Those are the ones I need to get back to.
Sometimes I blame technology. "If there weren't so much instant free entertainment to distract me, I'd be writing more!" Sometimes I blame my education. "If I hadn't learned so much about writing, I wouldn't be overthinking it, I'd just be doing it!" Sometimes I blame myself. "I'd write more if I just turned off my phone and Netflix and all games and made myself do it!" Sometimes I hate myself. "I procrastinate too much. I'm too afraid of writing something that's not good. Might as well not write anything at all. If I didn't think these things, I'd be writing! Stupid me."
Occasionally, any of these things is true. Back when I could only write with a pen and paper in bed, back when my phone didn't have texting and wifi, way back when I was your age and walked 17 miles in the snow to my typewriter, I wrote more. Back before I learned about making my stories "marketable" and how to use precise structure, I wrote more for pleasure and now have a hard time getting past the "but can I sell this?" mindset. I do procrastinate a lot (some of these posts on here sit for months in the draft folder before being published, and considering how long I've had this website, I should have way more than double the amount of posts - like this post, it's been 5 MONTHS since I started writing it) and I am easily distracted. I need to get more control of that. And I am especially susceptible to impostor syndrome when it comes to my writing and art. Since that's a deeper psychological issue than just willpower, it's a lot harder to control than distractions.
But I'm finally publishing this post that I began in January (omfg) because it's time to do something about this writing. I'm tired of having this sit here and waiting for the "perfect moment" to publish or putting too much time into editing when really, what matters in this moment is the content, not the fanciful way it was written.
How do you write like tomorrow won't arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive?
Maybe I'll remember soon.