Never Not Writing

Today I realized how, when you’re a writer, you’re never not writing. Your mind puts words together all day long, as automatically as breathing. It’s just how you live. And when certain sentences linger, and you see how you might fill out an entire paragraph with that one thought, you text it to yourself or write it in your notes or put it down in your journal. Sometimes, you silence everything, stop the whole parade, and burrow away somewhere to write. You’d rather write than anything else.

In the spaces between writing, you’re still writing. When you’re sleeping, you’re still writing, and you wake up to sentences to put down on the page. When you’re cooking, you’re describing it in your mind with vivid verbs and semicolons. When you meet someone new, you’re thinking about them as a new character and their life as something someone should really make into a novel. When you visit your garden to see the ripening blackberries that fall when you touch them and the audacious pumpkin that snuck into your life, you’re mostly wondering how to capture the joy and wonder you feel in words.

Writing is a craft of arrangement and patterns, of connections and rhythms. It’s how you see the world. It’s a craft of turning raw material over in your mind all day long whether you want to or not. It’s a craft of distilling something down like your brain is a factory that only works like this. And you have this urge to show it all off; it’s a tether from your unseen mind to the seen world that you want others to experience, too.

People ask, “How do you make time to write?” I always answer, “How do you make time to eat? To breathe? To sleep?” But what I really mean is that the writing always happens. Like a heart pumping vital blood, a writer’s mind pumps words.

So we’re never not writing.

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