It's a Process

March 15, 2016

My mind is spinning. It’s starting to ache as the ideas shove and jostle against one another, fighting for their chance at freedom. I am the warden, they are the inmates, and I will only release them once they are deemed worthy of such. We can’t have any incompetency, after all. Every word that streams from my brain must change the fate of society itself.

My fingers hesitate. Maybe that goal is a little ambitious. I’ll start small--just a little exercise to get the creative juices flowing.

Laptop, check. Earbuds, check. Awkward position that is somehow comfortable, check. No, wait. I shift until my right leg is stretched across the length of the bench, laptop balanced precariously on my right knee, right foot tucked under my left thigh. Much better!

Now I have everything necessary for a successful prison break. All that's left is a place to house my little escapees, and then I can get to work.

Click, click.

That...that is a lot of white. How can one little document seem so large? How in the world am I supposed to fill it all?

Just breathe. Start small. Let’s try getting through one page. Of course, once that page is filled the next will be unlocked, just as intimidating and empty as the first. And after that there will just be another, and another, and another and...oh my, I could fill a thousand pages and there will always be another one waiting for me. No matter what I do, I can’t escape the bottomless pit of white paper.

I wonder what would happen if I were to fall into the pit. Would I be able to punch my way through the paper walls, or would I be doomed to fall forever? Would I get a papercut?! Is the pit digital or hard copy? Why am I even thinking about this?

I shake my head, trying to redirect my train of thought. This is ridiculous. Since when have I gotten so philosophical about paper? Could I make a career out of that?

Right. Focus. We are starting small, remember? Let’s just get through the opening sentence.

...My mind is blank, now. The convicts have ceased their howling and banging against the bars of their cells, scared into submission by the threat of an endless, stationary abyss and my own cowardice.

Maybe I’ll go ahead and give it a title. That might be enough of a carrot to lure them back out.

Tap tap tap… tap tap.

Wow. That sounded a lot cooler in my head than it looks. No matter, I can go back and change it later. At least it’s a start.

Tap tap tippity tap tip tap tip. Tippity tap tap tap. Tip tap…

Okay, that’s not too bad. I can do this! Although, I am hungry. Maybe I should go grab a snack…

Nah, I just sat down. I’m not that ambitious.

Tip tap tap tap tip tap tappity tip tap… tip… tap…

What was that word, again? I believe it started with a “c”. It means “agree”, I think.

Thesaurus, old buddy, old pal--please help me out.

Ah-hah! “Concur”...and “comply”... and “concede”... who knew there were so many options? I’ll just choose that first one. It seems to flow smoothly. It’s fun to say, too!

I just used “too” and “to” in the same sentence. That’s alright, isn’t it? I mean, it sounds right. However, after looking at it long enough, the phrase does start to look wrong. Am I overthinking this? Wait, did I use the right form of “It’s”?

This is probably the eighth time I’ve looked up “It’s vs. Its” this month. Twelve years of school served me well.

Okay… that’s the right use. I’m just going to read all I’ve written so far for good measure.

Speaking of which, how much have I written?

Still 400 words under my goal. Really? That’s all? This is taking forever.

I reposition myself, with my back straight against the bench and feet planted firmly on the ground. I roll my shoulders in an attempt to relieve the stress that is starting to build. Why do I like to write, again? What in the world made me think that this was fun?

Maybe I should reread everything again--no! You are not sucking yourself back into that trap again! Write! Write like a pack of cyborg wolves are nipping at your heels!

...I actually like that idea. Mental note: integrate mechanical canines into my next story. If I ever make it through this one, of course.

Tap tap tip tap tippity tappity tip tap tip…

Ugh, I hate this song. Skip!

Tip tap tip…

This song is actually quite good. A four minute break to sing along off key wouldn’t be so bad, would it? I mean, the house is empty. I might as well take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Three minutes, 28 seconds later and I am feeling mightily refreshed. I can definitely finish this!

*Ding*

Don’t do it.  Don’t you dare look at your phone. Stop! Why are you reaching for it when I specifically told you--

--ooh, new friend request! I haven’t seen her for years! It wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and accept it, seeing that it shouldn’t take more than three seconds.

...Two hours. I don’t even know how that happened. I’ll just go ahead and close that tab and pretend that was two hours spent not watching cat videos or taking quizzes on what color unicorn I am.

Deep breath. Refocus. Write.

Tap tap tap tippity tap tip tap.

I think I’m done. Let me just check my word count one last time… and now I’m 500 words above my quota. How did that happen? Oh well, over prepared is better than underprepared I guess.

Reading through it again, I can’t help but shudder in terror. Instead of freeing the attractive, smooth-talking angel, I’ve unleashed the thug so covered in scars and tattoos that no one would touch it with a ten foot pole. My finger hovers over the delete button.

Click… click… click…

No, I’ve spent over two hours bringing this to life, and even though it is as hideous as a naked mole rat crossbred with a blobfish, it is still mine. Maybe I should give it another chance. I’ll take a look at the monstrosity I’ve created tomorrow. Or next week. Or never.

It’s amazing what a good night's rest can do to refresh your mind. A month’s rest is even better, and looking at it with fresh eyes makes me realize that it isn’t near as bad as I imagined.

Now all that’s left to do is to hit that submit button and feel all my self doubt flow back inward. Then I can take a month to recuperate, and start choosing the candidate for my next jailbreak.

My brain is already starting to pound from all the ideas.






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