Write about anything
4A.M. I’m wide awake. In the corner of my room a soft green glow indicates that my laptop has finished charging. Internally, the debate to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling or give in and get up has been teetering back and forth within my mind; one possibility not outweighing the other. Somehow, I manage to make compelling arguments for both cases. To remain in bed, equates into a chance of additional shut eye. On the other hand, getting up could lend itself to some alternatives. With the laptop ready to go, I could hammer out a few pages to my story, or finish a blog post or two. I’m also very much aware that I run the risk of staring as blankly at my screen as it stares back at me for two hours, just to give up and begin my morning routine of readying myself for work. And so I lie in bed, neither writing, nor sleeping, and thus accomplishing absolutely nothing.
This prompts me to think about all of the other things that I’ve begun but haven’t followed through on. Unfortunately I don’t have to search very hard, all it takes is one look around the room to see the product of my hesitation. In the corner lies a stack of tattered notebooks, filled with blog ideas and unfinished stories. Tossed to the side, as if the hours I spent writing in them were just as easily discardable. Next to my dresser, the guitar that my wife bought me collects dust. Although it’s been nearly a month since I sat down to practice, my fingertips are still numb from the calluses I earned. I could easily tell myself that somehow this complacent half hearted effort on my part is the best that I can do, but the reality is that calluses can’t make a musician anymore than a stack of discarded notebooks will make an author.
Michael Jordan once said, “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” And while I believe this statement wholeheartedly, there is a small part of me that is afraid to apply it to myself. Logically, I know that it takes time to perfect a craft; and that even a bestselling author would describe his work as never quite finished. But still, questions of self-doubt begin to arise, questions like, what if my best is not good enough? All too often I fail to realize that my personal best far outweighs mediocrity.
It seems fitting that such inner dialogue take place at the start of a new year; a time in which people create entire lists devoted to changing bad habits. While I am not one prone to creating New Year’s Resolutions, I do like to take a moment and reflect on my efforts at the start of each year. As a writer, most of what comes to mind has to do with the progress that I’ve made. Mostly what I find are areas that need improvement. But I’m beginning to realize that if we said everything perfectly the first time, we’d all run out of things to write about.
Sitting on this side of 2013, it seems that this year could actually be the year. The year for jumping in head first. The year for which I leave myself vulnerable and allow for mistakes. That isn’t to say that I plan to hold my failures and successes to some unrealistic standard. It just means that I must try with all that I have. It means if I fail, I try again. It means that when given the option, I must always choose to lose a couple hours of sleep for the chance (the sheer opportunity) of finding just the right words that fit into my story. Even if it means that I stare at my laptop for hours on end before typing the first word. It means that I approach life with an expectation. It means that I do my part by showing up, without hesitation.
Peter Combs is a 28 year old husband, writer and former foster child. He currently lives with his wife, Renee, in Atlanta, Georgia. Peter is the author of the blog Home.