10 Things That Could Happen If You Write for 10 Minutes


  1. You could not know what to say or how to start. You could write umm, ugh, uhh, ergh and hmmmm until a question occurs which leads you to a thought which reminds you a of a story. You might even for a moment think that everything you have to say is boring or stupid or dumb.

  2. You might wonder what good it will do, if it will make you any money, if you can afford to spend the fortune of your time staring into your reflection on the page. You might wonder if you’ll be ex-communicated from a church you never belonged to or inducted into a mysterious society of misfits and heathens with whom you’ve always secretly hoped to belonged.

  3. You could start to get up to check the refrigerator, answer the phone, move to another country, start a new life or, you could start anyway.

  4. In starting you could find that you have so much to say, that there are so many tributaries to follow along the river of your mind that fireworks start to explode instead of words and the roiling lava beneath your surface begins to spill over from your heart through your hand onto the page through your pen.

  5. You might write letters to God, to your younger or future self, to the versions of you that never got born or to your own parallel lives on the other side of the thin, gauzy veil, to the children that weren’t born or to the one that was.

  6. You might write about being a maid and a waitress, your life on a train and a ship. You might write about your childhood, how you moved 15 times around the city with your dad and once across the street with your mom, the french millionaire who broke your heart and that one time you accidentally had an affair with your boyfriend’s dad. You might discover the Greek tragi-comedy of your own life and the unbelievable redemption you crawled, sobbed, begged you way into.

  7. You might cry and bleed and shake and scribble your way through your stories, your exes, your miscarriages, your hysterectomy, your addictions to food and alcohol and drugs and men, your affair with all of the 7 sins, the amends you’ve tried to make to your body through thick and thick and thin.

  8. You might find that like the Princess and the Pea you can no longer abide the untold truths poking in your side, stabbing through your skin, disrupting your sleep, that you need to extricate the splinters and lay them across the page. You might become like  a novice nun who has discovered confession.

  9. You might find that writing is a great release, an unexpected cleansing. That life will gut you and writing will cleanse you, that you will begin to long for it the way you’ve begun to long for water, the very water you once avoided, getting by as dirty and mangy and feral as you could, but now you need rivers and oceans and waterfalls and thunderstorms and showers and writing to wash through you until you are clean.

  10. You might at long last lay aside your great disappointment at getting fired by the devil and yet never becoming an angel either. You might discover that you have to find your own light, accept your own darkness, that you can get at last enough of both if you forage and burrow and write your own way through.


Valley HaggardComment