There’s a pain in my stomach.

It’s one I’ve had before, and will undoubtedly become intimately familiar with in the coming weeks. It feels like a sickness of some sort.

I’m doing this again. I’ll bring myself back to this place every morning. But only if I’m disciplined. I feel unwell this morning, but here I am, at least. So this’ll be one x on the calendar.

I miss writing. I’ve never stopped reading and am proud of the little pile of books I’ve built up in my office, happily gliding through one a week, sometimes more, sometimes not, as I so pretentiously like to tell people. So it isn’t words that I’ve become unfamiliar with. So why the discomfort? These are just little shapes strung together to make other shapes, to give form to ideas. So why the sickness?

That sickness. This sickness. Why won’t it go away? Not quite cramps, not quite butterflies. I’ve somehow developed a gluten intolerance in the last year, but I’m sure it’s not that. Here it is though, and I can’t get rid of it.

It’s behind my eyes, too. There’s a dull pain behind my eyes and under the skin on the back of my neck. Though perhaps that’s tiredness. Two year olds do that to you. This feeling is bringing back memories.

I have to keep moving, it’s death if I stop. That other thing will win, and I’m so sick of being its loser. Memories keep flicking past. Memories of defeats and victory.

I remember talking about resistance and wolves and dogs. I remember thinking about how there’s this force behind any creative act and how there’s an opposing one telling you to stop, telling you you’re not good enough, telling you that no one will care that you made something. And asking others to actually look at what you poured yourself into? Please! They’d be losers to do so and you’d be a loser to think so.

That’s what I’m thinking about. Them the losers, me the loser. That’s what I’m thinking about, that feels familiar. The pain in my stomach feels familiar.

I’m thinking about structure, too. About outlines. I like the idea of making something to an outline, writing to an outline, much like I design to a grid, I want to write to one, too.

I made one – an outline, I made one. It’s beautiful. I researched it, too. A lot. I read the best ideas I could find and put them into practice, and now I have a grid so intricate I could put anything I want anywhere and best of all?! I can hide! I can hide my ideas in the structure so that no one will see them and no one will see the loser I am. I spent hours on it, making something to help me make something. Somehow I ended up with nothing, but I was busy at least! Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Losers and grids and resistance. The dull pang in my stomach is echoing and that’s what I’m hearing. Losers and grids and resistance and wolves and dogs and colors.

I’m thinking about the best moments I’ve had. We all do that, don’t we? Focus on the best parts for a minute then the worst parts for an hour? I remember laughing and learning and crying with a new friend, writing about colours and love and pain and creative effort. She made my work better than its ever been and right now, I know for a fact, better than it’ll ever be.


I’m not using my grid. But there’s words here so I’ll keep going.

I’m thinking about those drawings I did as a kid. They were dreadful. I was in the fifth grade and was about to run into my first ever critic.

They were of people, authority figures, around the place. There was a fireman, a policeman, my karate instructor, a teacher. The drawings sucked as I had rushed them, but I had done them and I showed my mum who would always tell me what I had done was perfect, because she’s mum and that’s what mums do.

She said she thought I could have done better. That it wasn’t my normal standard of quality, that I’d let myself down and that I was a failure, and that I was awful, and a loser, and that those who would see these and like them would be losers.

“They’re nice sweetheart, but I thought you would have worked on them longer, you normally do, but they’re nice,” is what she said, but I know what she meant.

That pang in my stomach is echoing.

It’s been two years since I was last familiar with this feeling. It only lasted thirty days, but the pain was memorable. I’d wake every morning and write and hit publish and hope everything was ok. Amazing things happened. The work was average, sometimes worse, but things I’d only imagined started to happen.

People were reading. I had no plan, I had no idea of what I was doing, I had no fancy outline to write to, that thing I’ll use next time, I promise, but they were reading. I was offered a job or two, nothing big, but very cool. I couldn’t take them – a kid was coming. But wow. I made friends. I made sentences. I made a collection. Bird by bird I made a collection. And it was all mine.

It’s been years, and I’m still trying. Does that make me a winner with an undeniable goal? Are the stops I keep running into adversities I’m fighting against? Or does that make me a loser with a dog with a bone?

I hope the first, I really do, I’m sick of being anything else.

Muses and ladders and lights and progress and rewards and hard work, oh god the pang is shifting. It doesn’t hurt any less, but its found its place. I just have to keep making things and hitting publish to keep it there.

Like last time, the effort that’s coming isn’t about quality. It isn’t about being perfect, it isn’t about my best work, because whenever we try to do such a thing we don’t only miss the target but we kill ourselves, just a little bit, because we let that other thing win, just a little, tiny bit. Perfect doesn’t exist but we tell ourselves it does so we have an excuse to not start, or to not hit publish.

I’m going to write for thirty days. I might not show up everyday, but when I don’t I’ll make up for it. One day lost will be paid back in double. Because this time its a lot more serious. Because of that two year old.

It might be the most important thing I ever do for him. To show him what hard work and passion look like might be very important. What the act of achieving something looks like, something earned a day at a time, an hour, a minute, a second at a time, that’s my hope. But most importantly I can’t give up because he’s watching. Whether I realise it or not, whether he realises it or not, he’s watching and learning what it means to work for your passions.

He’s watching, and I’m watching. We’re both watching to see what it’s like to fight off that other, awful thing that tells us to stop, then tells us we’re losers, then offers praise when we give up.

We’re watching to see what it’s like when you get familiar with the discomfort in your stomach. That comforting discomfort. That feeling that means you’ve made a start.

At least I’ve made a start. At least I’m uncomfortable.