The in between times

Why am I not writing? I ask myself this question as I scroll through Facebook reading other people’s writing and kicking myself for not writing. Then I head to Twitter to look up some more writing, and even Instagram to look at some pithy captions. Then it’s 45 minutes later and I wonder why I am still not writing. I am taking note of other people’s followers and fans and comments and wondering why I am not writing. For 45 minutes.

They–the smart people, the tortured writers who are actually recognized off the internet–say to write well means to read, a lot. This isn’t what they meant. They meant to read good articles, to read good books, literature, prose, poetry, groundbreaking work for its time and place. They did not mean for me to diddle away 45 minutes looking at the internet and wondering why don’t more people like the stuff I haven’t written!?!

Social media addiction seems like a very real thing, especially when you are out in the middle of nowhere and feel like perhaps you might be missing something happening over in civilization. However, the cure is to walk away and write your own story. And remember that during those in between times, in between tasks or chores or official projects or work or play, you let yourself stare at a blank wall for a minute and let your brain go blank. And also, in those in between times between publishing and not publishing, putting yourself out there for critique and working on a project, you remember that everything you see published is not during someone else’s in between time. It is their time to put forth, and so you can just keep sitting on it. Keep driving in your lane and don’t swerve to see the roadside attraction and don’t, for the love of Pete, get out of your car to talk to anyone!

Which means put the phone down, walk away from the laptop, pick up a pen and paper and transcribe the words later once they have fallen out of your head. Then go back to the in between times and let your mind go blank again. Check the news once a day, post a picture of your adorable child wearing oversized sunglasses taking a pretend sip from your iced coffee, or whatever. But let there be an in between time, between action and inaction, and let it be graceful and peaceful and sweet.

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