This morning, doing my usual Morning Pages, I wrote the following toward the end of page one:
Funny how much I am struggling with the impulse to stop writing. It feels like too much to get through three pages. I only have three lines remaining on this page though and I'm halfway through this line racing toward the last line of the page.
I was trying to just get myself going and get through. I woke late, having stayed up to see the Syracuse men's team win a great NCAA Tournament game and shocked at a #16 seed finally upsetting a #1 (by twenty points!). All that excitement was lingering in me this morning as I sat in the basement nook working through my pages. I was seeing a game clock counting down and thinking, when will I be done? Being so fixated on finishing, it was all I could do to will myself toward the finish.
On page two I figured I had sixty two lines to fill, a full two pages. That sounded overwhelming or at least uninspiring. I considered it would take eighteen minutes to finish, but that too felt far away. I was, no matter how I measured it, not done yet.
Recently, I read Leo Babauta's piece about not to clinging to things. This morning I was clinging to this idea that finishing would fix my life. It's a foolish notion and one that keeps me from feeling content.
Consider Morning Pages. What happens when I finish? I don't finish them at all. Daily Morning Pages are a practice, something I won't ever finish. Yesterday I finished three pages. Today, I finished three more. Tomorrow I'll keep going because there is no finish. Looking to finishi is a way to be constantly disappointed. If I cling to the idea that these things are undone, I'm racing to fix the problem.
But there is no problem.
Writing isn't something I finish. I'll get to an ending of this draft, have breakfast, revise the draft, and post it. The end? No. There are other pieces to write and this one may change. There's more that I want to be doing. I've more working and living to do.
There's a thing called Six-Word Memoirs in which people capture who they are in six words. I've written many, but one sticks with me as much as anything I've ever said about who I am and what I do:
Still haven't run out of ink.
Writing goes on. So does living.
I finished today's Morning Pages. I came upstairs and picked up things in the kitchen, putting them away. I washed a couple dishes. I did some recycling. I moved through the house opening blinds and picking up a few more things. I shaved then put in laundry. Still haven't run out of laundry, dishes, things to put away, or recycling. Still haven't run out of breaths in and out or beats in my heart. Still haven't run out of mornings or evenings. I'm in no rush to run out, to be done, to reach the one final finish line.
Harry Chapin wrote, "it's got to be the going not the getting there that's good." Writing my pages this morning I was surprised and put into a minor state of wonder when I considered what I was clinging to and began to let go. Writing is about that state of wonder and much less about this foolish notion of finishing.