I checked and re-checked every word, shifted a sentence around to make it flow more smoothly, edited for nuance and then hit "send," and only then did the realization hit: I just put more time, energy, and passion into a three-sentence e-mail expressing (righteous!) indignation than I've put into any other writing project this month.
That's not an auspicious way to start a new year. I can offer plenty of excuses: I've been sick; I can't think straight when I'm on drugs; the weather is depressing; after I teach, all I want to do is sleep. But the fact is that I just haven't made writing a priority.
I've got plenty to work on: revising a journal article, expanding a conference paper, taking the next step on the big multi-year writing project, even occasional blogging. I wrote about half of my thank-you notes for Christmas gifts and then gave up, for no good reason other than being tired. This does not sound like me at all. What have I done to myself?
The passion I felt on writing that petty e-mail yesterday served as a wake-up call, making me wonder why I'm wasting so much energy on relatively insignificant matters when I could be tackling a pile of serious work, work that I used to find engaging and challenging but that now simply seems to loom threateningly like the dark clouds that have recently dominated our days.
I know from experience that the best cure for writing malaise is simply to write--and not just irate e-mails. So it's time to put the cough syrup aside, ignore the awful weather, and simply get back to work, word by word. Starting now.
Well, maybe after my morning classes....