Challenge Journal – Rituals and the Importance of Lead and Dread

I love to write. Or, maybe what I like is actually a side effect of writing, the feeling that I am molding a tangible representation of the otherwise indecipherable thoughts whirling my head at top speeds. The strange awareness of my brain churning through different combinations of words and strands of thoughts leaving nothing but words on a page that sounding like molasses dripping from the bottle on a hot summer day. Just as the blades of a wind turbine cut through the air, extracting energy to power the world as we know it, my brain extracts an end product capable of inspiring mental images and the entire array of human emotion. In short, this feeling is the feeling that I am creating something really really good.

The key takeaway from the above paragraph is that the sensation arrives when I am creating something good. Something really really good. So, how do I get “into the zone” so that I can accomplish something sufficiently good?

The location is not important to me.

Nor is a banquet of snacks, or a specific beverage or selection of music.

I can work in the deadly silence of the Law Library, or the bustling loud of Espresso Royale.

I and my atmospheric writing needs are versatile.

What is not flexible, however, is my first step. I need to handwrite some amount of my piece.

Perhaps I am intimidated by the vast whiteness of Word’s template document, or perhaps it is the expectant pulsing cursor which becomes more and more insistent with each passing second that I do not write. Regardless, I find that I cannot find inspiration until I have physically handwritten exploratory thoughts and ideas regarding a piece.

Although I know this about myself, I still struggle at the beginning of each major writing assignment to commence my ritual of smearing pencil lead upon a blank sheet of paper. I am not sure if it is simply the dread of starting, or the concern that my ritual will fail me and that I will not create anything of worth.

This semester, I hope to take steps to overcome this struggle of mine. I love to write. And I need to remember that before spending hours dreading the start of my ritual.

Does anyone else struggle with a similar initial dread? How do you medicate this shortfall? Or do you think it is merely part of the process?

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