How to start journaling—and deliver on your creative ideas

How to start journaling—and deliver on your creative ideas

If you procrastinate on your creative ideas or impulses, this post is for you.

Do you believe in alternate universes?

I do, sometimes. There are so many quirks in our lives, so many tiny flakes of coincidence that build and build into a great avalanche of The Way Things Are. But what if one or two flakes had gone missing, or blown south instead of southwest?

A universe where my ex and I went through with the wedding. A universe where my dad visited the doctor a year earlier for his colonoscopy. A universe where I died from a ruptured appendix at age 23. These are all easy enough to picture, and I think about them all the time.

Sometimes, though, my imagination loses itself in truly elaborate what ifs. What if my ex and I had moved into that cute little place with the turret and the comically sloped ceilings, rather than the spacious, sprawling apartment where we ended up? Would the tiny apartment have kept us closer somehow? And if we’d stayed together, would I have been happier last year? Would I have finished my novel by now? Would I have stayed at my job?

Maybe I shouldn’t, but I enjoy spending a fraction of my life in alternate universes. If things go my way, I’m grateful not to live in the universe where that car didn’t brake in time. If things go poorly, I take comfort that—somewhere, in some other dimension—my dad is drinking his second mug of coffee and watching This Old House.

I can tell you one thing, though: there is sure as hell a universe where I’m not writing.

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Writing through the storm

Writing through the storm

Always wanted to write? This entry’s for you.

“I always wanted to be a writer.”

People tell me this all the time—scientists, lawyers, yoga teachers. Writing is a precious, secret, painful dream for them. They talk about it in low voices, their gaze slipping to a corner of the room.

They talk about it the way you’d talk about the one who got away, the person you still love even though it’s been ages, even though you probably shouldn’t.

“I always thought I’d write a book.”

 But life gets in the way. But you don’t think you can. But your father’s sick or money’s tight or your job sucks the life out of you.

It’s cruel: the times when it’s most difficult to write—when life is hard and your creative spark dims and your self-esteem is getting ripped out by the roots—are precisely when you need most to write.

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