By Judy Clement Wall
On January 31st, I posted my intent to write wild for 15 minutes a day every day in February.
So here’s the good news. I wrote a lot of stuff – a draft of a short story, notes for a personal essay I decided I’m not ready to write, a monologue, a manifesto, a bit of silliness that will probably grow up to be a blog post some day. I wrote a letter I might send, a promise to myself I will definitely keep, and a list that made me laugh on a day I needed to laugh. Not a bad haul.
I missed six days entirely, and stole at least six more to work on existing projects, something I told myself I wouldn’t do. I struggled constantly to make my 15 minutes a priority (and in so doing, took some of the fun – and wild – out of them). I loved them at first, but less at the end, and that’s partly because I found it nearly impossible to hold my inner critic at bay. Even for just 15 minutes a day.
But here’s the cool thing about experiments. Sometimes what you learn is not what you set out to discover. I may not have managed to write wild every day for 28 days (a worthy goal I am not giving up on), but I did think (and write) a lot about time, and creativity, and the permission we do and don’t give ourselves. I found there are times when “wild” comes easy to me – on and off the page – and there are times when it doesn’t, and that’s okay. Sometimes I need to dig deeper; sometimes I need to cut myself some slack. Turns out, self-forgiveness is a powerful thing. Freeing. There are some places you can only get to by letting go.
And there’s this: 15 minutes is longer than you think, especially when you string a bunch of 15 minutes together. I find that reassuring somehow – a sort of organizational safety net for the hopelessly disorganized.