It was an interesting day today, sunny and rainy and also warm, damp, and sticky all at the same time. Sun seeped through my curtain in the late morning, and by lunchtime, the rain poured en masse. I read all day accompanied by excessively sweetened black coffees. I sat on the cold floor of my room until three in the afternoon, then I moved to the canteen to get a different ambiance. I imagined myself sitting in a fancy café, a reality I once had a long, long time ago.
While the cloud-filled gray sunset blanketed us, I headed to my room that effused Efficasent oil and black coffee. Aging does that to us. We switch from that sweet, powdery scent into something strong and reliable. I read a little more until that small voice inside me kept nudging. Write it down. Write it now.
This day (it is the 15th of May upon writing this), last year, I picked up a pen and an old notebook and started writing daily except for nights of physical exhaustion and alcohol exorbitance.
I looked at my notebook and read what I wrote a year ago. It said there was a tsunami alert on the day, so the weather today didn’t seem as bad anymore.
It also said things like I wanted to go back to writing, and I needed inspiration, and I needed to go back to playing guitar. Both happened, but the first had more consistency.
I also wrote that I wanted to improve my handwriting and that my hand trembled while writing. I remembered writing merely a hundred words that day while my hand shook, producing words that seem just a bit prettier than steno.
In 365 days, I used two and a half notebooks filled with mundane things that seemed far more interesting when read, long after it happened. The pages emanated emotions that I could have forgotten by now if not written. I might even think of those as forgotten dreams or part of my imagination.
I wrote about my life on this island, a small piece of sandy land probably not bigger than Dubai Mall’s food court. Many things happened, and many words were said that could have been blown away by the Eastern wind to the ends of the earth if not recorded. The morning mist of memories could have quickly disappeared with the sun’s ascension if not of the inked traces poured into pages.
I learned that writing, more than an art, is discipline; more than talent is a skill that can be enhanced over (a lot of) time.
It is not necessary to write beautifully at the beginning. Nobody knew how to walk immediately after they were born. We all crawled first before learning how to stand. We can take baby steps and write about how our day was or how one person or event made us feel.
You don’t need to wait for inspiration; you just need to hold the pen.
You don’t need to know highfalutin words. You can start with – Hi self? How are you feeling today?
Then it will flow like a river of words drifting through ink until a page is not enough. Sometimes the flow stops, but even so, your day couldn’t end in less than ten words. Something or someone would always be worth mentioning, and whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t matter. There wouldn’t be a hero if not for the villain.
Before you realize it, you’ve written something long enough to be a novel. A piece that would be much more interesting to read after a year or more has passed.
More than that, you’d realize that your life has been colorful, that every day wasn’t the same. You’ll read tiny details that made each day different. We always say our lives are monotonous, but if you write your life down every day from now onwards, you’ll see that not one day is the same.
I’m not saying that I’m already a pro after a year of writing, but I’m a bit better than a year ago. Sometimes, I’d randomly see bloggers looking for inspiration, wondering how to get back into writing.
Pick up a pen and start writing about the aroma of your coffee or the color of the sky and the memories they conjure. It could be a one-liner or a hundred or thousand words. You’ll never know where it will take you.
Starting up is the most challenging part of building a routine. But you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start somewhere.