I have a black pin-up board in my room. It has several small cards tacked on. Each card has a command. It is my to-do list. Here is what it says:
These are simple things that I try to do every day. Somedays I skip one. Sometimes I complete them in order. Sometimes not. Sometimes I ignore them altogether. Most days I get it right.
Now you may be wondering why I have such basic things on my board. The truth is that I have been at home for almost two years now, and I am a bit of a pig when it comes to trivial things like hygiene or deodorant. Such are the struggles of the common Penmonkey.
All those things on my to-do list create a sort of rhythm in my life. The reason I want rhythm is to build a writing habit. I want to get up every day and write for an hour. That’s my goal. I have not succeeded yet.
This is my attempt to build a writing habit so I can take this writing thing seriously.
One quality all successful people seem to have is grit; the ability to carry on under strain. Normally we would call it perseverance but, in the case of writers being the bad asses that they are, we call it Grit. Grit is the ability to write every day for years on end without pay, to keep writing even though you think anything coming out your fingers is the mental equivalent of Llama spit. GRIT is when you send a draft of your novel to over 30 publishers and receive 30 rejection letters. GRIT is constantly churning out content. GRIT is the defining quality that separates the writers from the wannabes.
I lack grit.
It is my one defining character flaw. I’ve always been one to quit at the first sign of trouble. School, College, Relationships, all these are affected by my lack of grit. If I had grit, I could conquer the world. Sadly, grit only comes through experience, through tough times.
I was raised by a generation encompassing grit. My parents had it, my grandparents had it, and so did my aunts and uncles.
I was raised in a generation promised the world. We were all pampered and spoiled, taught to believe that things will get better, that the world was our oyster; we had rainbows injected into our anuses from birth. I am a by-product of the Y generation; born one year after the end of Apartheid. Though I am not completely innocent; I made some bad decisions as well. But I am trying to move forward. I am trying to correct my wrongs. And perhaps this is what grit is. The ability to keep moving forward. Perhaps, this is grit.
Do you have grit?
The pastor heard secrets in the confessional.
Awful things that parents did to children.
What their children did to other children.
What those children did to others.
He heard secrets that made his stomach quiver.
Sometimes, he wondered if he could face these people in church.
Yet, He was up every Sunday,
Preaching the good word,
Praying with hands closed.
The pastor heard many secrets.
Yet he still believed.
Got to make a post,
Can’t think of what to write,
Can’t even write,
How am I supposed make a new post every day!
This is madness!
No. THIS. IS. PENMONKEY! (Sparta kicks the doubt goblin off the edge of a cliff).
Okay fingers, let’s get to work.
She put the kettle to boil,
Buttered the toast,
Pulled out the cereals,
Set out the strawberry jam
And grabbed the milk from her fridge.
He came downstairs and yawned, pulled her close to him then kissed her.
When it ended, they looked at one another and wondered how a marriage could be so happy.
He did not got to work that day.
You’ll find that life goes in a maze.
The paths you thought you were walking on tend to drift the more you walk them,
They curve and twist and zig-zag and turns upside down on a dime.
They loop-Di-loop and invert, crisscross and dive.
They make a fool of you.
No map can help you.
No person can guide you.
You can only walk and make your own way.
You can only have faith in yourself,
And in the fact that God doesn’t build in straight lines.
The first week had stretched skin over bone.
By the second, their eyes bulged from hollowing skulls.
By the third, they turned to cannibalism.
All the bodies were gone by day twenty-three.
Rescue efforts found their bodies sixteen days later.
They were all dead.