You wake up in the morning and you are already behind schedule. Hitting the snooze button has become far too easy these days, especially when the morning temperatures are usually in the single digits.
It is already too late to walk your dog over at the park, so you will have to make do by taking her along the crowded, filthy city sidewalks that are still covered in reams of salt from the last snowstorm. Apparently the city’s plan of action for the last snowstorm was to salt every last flake into submission, making it damn near impossible to walk a dog anywhere because dog paws sting when it is salty outside.
By the time you get back from walking the dog, you have to hustle to feed her and get dressed and get out the door in time to run up the street at full speed and get on the crowded, salt-covered bus where the heat is blasting. Your skin cells are screaming bloody murder because of the relentless onslaught of hot, dry air but there is nothing you can do but hold the pole as the bus lurches down the street toward the subway station.
You arrive at work on time (just barely) and take the elevator to the tenth floor. You open to your office with the optimism of an early morning caffeine buzz and then…reality hits. It will be another long day in a semi-darkened room doing work that no one really needs or cares about.
At least you have few emails to respond to from over the weekend, but none of them ask you to do much more than play peacemaker to high-powered people.
Does anyone want you to write something? No.
Does anyone want your advice on a creative problem? No.
Does anyone have any actual concrete work for you to do? Surprisingly, yes.
For once, there is some tedious proofing work that must get done.
This doesn’t exactly fire your creative soul, but it is better than casting about aimlessly, trying to convince people to give you some work.
So while you while away your day in proofing purgatory, you listen to as many podcasts as possible.
Podcasts about books and movies and television writing. Anything that seems creative.
You promise yourself that the moment you get home you will dive into creative pursuits. You will write an X-Files spec script. You will finally learn all the beats of the three-act sitcom screenplay. You will load up your Kindle with PDFs of scripts of television shows that you will then dissect in order to learn the rules of telling a story.
You will take some steps towards becoming a WRITER.
But by the end of the day, your enthusiasm has flagged. All this proofing has been tiring. You still have a cold that you are getting over. You still have to walk the dog when you get home. You have to think about dinner and maybe taking a shower and maybe practicing the guitar that is gathering dust in the other room. Even your smartphone app that helpfully provides three-word creative prompts seems to be running out of fresh ideas.
But you will soldier on and create something because YOU ARE A WRITER.
So you get home. Walk the dog. Take your shower. Make plans for dinner. Sit down at your computer. Loosen your typing fingers. Take a deep breath.
Then you make the crucial mistake of looking at the dashboard of your blog before you start to type.
And you see the tiny traffic numbers for your posts.
And a little part of you—the part that could have looked the other way and just blindly typed for 10 minutes on something that felt like fiction–feels like crawling into a ball and waiting for another day.
So you don’t type.
And you don’t create a spec X-Files script.
And you don’t learn the three-act sitcom structure.
And you don’t feel very much like a WRITER.
But you know that tomorrow –once you have woken up too late to walk the dog at the park, sprinted up the street to catch the bus, suffered under the unremitting blast of the bus heater, and arrived at work balancing on that the same thin line between optimism and despair—the whole cycle will start anew.