“So what would it take for you to not not-write?” – Kate, who for some reason has not given up on me
If the definition of a writer is someone who writes every day, then I guess I’m a writer. Emails count, right?
They should. My communications at work are masterpieces, crafted to placate government bureaucrats known for large egos and limited reading skills. I write emails to explain to employees why they have to fill out a time sheet even if they are salaried, why they have to use the company travel program instead of some discount site, and why we deduct taxes from the next paycheck to cover that $100 gift card bonus.
With a few well-placed words, I calm the troubled waters that sometimes arise between program managers who need their data yesterday, and my financial analysts, who can only accomplish so much in a single day. I soothe the souls of executive management, who placed me in charge of a major financial software conversion project because I’m the only person in the company who has ever used the product.
I take the time to carefully answer questions from multiple audit agencies, knowing my emails will become a permanent part of the work papers and used as unofficial policy statements in the next ten audits. Every single email I write is done with one eye to open communication and the other eye searching for anything that might come back to haunt me during legal discovery.
When I was a child and dreamed of becoming a writer, this wasn’t exactly what I pictured.
So here I stand (or sit, because I’m chained to my desk for hours every day), unable to transfer the characters living in my head to a better location. And those characters are tired of staying in that cramped, confined space where they share a room with several crazy family members, cowboys, soldiers, villains, supernatural beings, and anyone else who decides to show up for the party. They’re tired of me waiting for that elusive day when I’ll have time to write, uninterrupted by work, school, the military, professional advancement or family commitments.
The characters in my head know the truth, which is that if I’m not being interrupted, my casket is being lowered into the ground. Dying with all of these stories stuck in my head? That really would be hell.
So dearest Kate, what does it take to not not-write? Judging by the amount of time I spent on this blog post, 27 minutes of constant paragraph revisions, because when I’m not not-writing, I’m also not not-editing. Maybe I’ll find another 27 minutes this week to not not-write again.
Please don’t ever not not-give up on me.