| Angie Counios

A Pep Talk to Myself

I know what I don't want. I don't want to be the 'writer' who walks around with a laptop bag slung to their body, sitting in coffee shops with their computer open, drinking a latté, but never really writing a word. We've all seen them.

The truth is that words, thoughts, and stories do not write themselves. It takes work. And time. Lots of it.

My 18-year-old self would sit at my desk in the school art room, staring at blank paper, waiting for an idea. The teacher would walk by and say, "Just make a mark." He figured if I started moving my pencil something would come of it and I would eventually have a drawing. He was right.

Writing is the same. As long as I'm working, something will come of it.

Someone once told me they had writer's block. I asked what that was. They were shocked that I needed a definition. "You've never had writer's block?" I didn't think so but I still needed a definition.

This person's explanation went as follows: it's the moment when you're writing and the cursor on your computer is flashing but you simply don't know what to write next. You're blocked. Stuck. You can't move forward. You just stare, blank.

I thought for a brief moment and then answered. "Yeah, no. I've never had that." I was serious.

There is always a plan and even if it's not a great plan there is always editing. I always felt like there was something I could put down, even if it wasn't great in that moment it still felt like a step forward. I just try to keep pushing that cursor forward. If it was terrible I could change it later, but if there was a plan I never really needed to stop and struggle. That's what outlines, beat sheets, plans are for.

What I need to ask myself is how badly do I want it? How much time can I schedule in my day to reach my (and my partner's) goals? I have a full time teaching job. I write. I make art. I have a home and a life. I carve time out to stay fit. And I have found myself canceling lunch plans or evening plans to fit in time to write. This is not a complaint. It simply is and if I truly want to make it a priority I will do my best to move that cursor forward whether it's a block of time in the evening or just a few minute during the work day.

The last script David and I worked on we met daily right after my work day until summer holidays and then we met every morning until the project was complete and met the deadline. I realized that I was waking up earlier for this than for my traditional job.

It's worth it. I'm willing to do the work. I have a desire to do the work. It preoccupies my head even when I'm not in front of the computer and it is a pleasure, not a chore, to work in this capacity. I know what is required and I try my best daily to connect with myself as a writer. We should all be blessed to do what we love and shake any excuses away so that the job can get done.

I'm doing my best. Some days I don't feel like I'm meeting my expectations for myself but I still try my best.

So, now, I'm going to go work.

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