I know it’s hard to believe, but my ideas don’t just spring out of thin air. In the past, I’ve relied upon writing prompts to help spark the old whirlygig in my head when I had nothing else going, and more often than not it helped bring out some of my better writing.
For some reason, that river seems to have dried out. Exhaustive searches have struggled to turn up a current source of daily writing prompts. It took me a little more digging to discover that I used to go to a blog called the Daily Post, and headed over there only to find myself a Lone Wanderer, looking at a monolith of the past . . . something that I failed to consider might have an end, but is now sitting unused, flecked with rust in the spots where the paint has chipped off. But then in my inspections, I came upon a whole new realization.
I don’t want to generalize my own habits, but maybe I’m not the only one that does this: sometimes you get used to skimming, and you forget to really look at the little things. Over the past few years, falling out of the writing habit . . . all of my best work has been done at the behest of some assignment for school; a card in need of some pithy, heartfelt message; an incident report that I was lucky enough to have to write for work . . . just enough to wet my whistle, but hardly enough to satisfy. You know.
In the rush and bustle and Cram of life, I had gotten so used to looking at the forest I forgot there were trees. Shrubs. Blades of grass. Individual grains of . . . soil? And throughout and underneath all of that, a massive mycological network that both feeds and feeds on all of that. All of a sudden, I realized this whole time I was looking at something truly valuable and not even seeing it.
I’m snapping out of that feckless state! It’s tough work. The WordPress interface has changed completely and I’m hacking my way through the process, trying to come up with new shortcuts to do the things I want to do. But I’m now saying goodbye to leaning on writing prompts when I need inspiration, and hello to looking for it on a more granular level.
I find that, at least for me, writing is a lot like Tetris. All the little pieces that fall . . . it feels like the game is sending you what you need. What really matters, then, is what you do with them. The pieces fall, and you place them, you wait for the right piece that will give you the space you need, and you keep on kicking those lines out. You try not to choke and start spamming the hard drop. But the goal isn’t really to win, per se — it’s to get better. To improve, to find new ways to do the same things over and over.
To get creative.
Life is a lot like that too. Things we do, they can feel old after a while. But the world throws so much at us, we can sometimes get so used to dodging that we fail to see the inspiration whizzing past our ears. We avoid change, to our detriment. 2021 is a new year, this much is true today. But every day is a new day. New things are coming down the pipe all the time.
So it’s time to pay attention. Keep your head up. Strengthen your communication.
It’s always “go” time.