I met up with my old friend Snooze yesterday. His real name is Mike. He and his girlfriend live in London but were passing through Sheffield on their way to Hebden Bridge, so they met me at Bragazzis on Abbeydale Road. I had an espresso. They both had tea. Mike paid.
We talked about all sorts of things, but after a while the conversation shifted to my being right on the verge of having published a piece of writing every day for a year. (Including today, I have 10 days left of this challenge.) I said that I was glad I had done it, but that I wouldn’t do it again.
As I walked home from Bragazzis listening to Pet Sounds, the things we’d been talking about swirled around my head, and I started to weigh up the things I have and haven’t liked about this past year.
I like, for example, the way that I’ve proved to myself over and over that I don’t need to wait for inspiration before I can create. If I did, I’d never get anything done. I’ve learnt that I can decide to start writing, and that nine times out of ten, I will find inspiration along the way, although I might end up going in a complete different direction than I imagined.
On the other hand, I don’t like how the daily deadline cuts off my freedom to explore. I notice myself avoiding going down particular avenues and stopping myself from writing about certain topics because I don’t trust that I can do them justice in the time I have. I have played it far too safe, and as such, whilst I don’t hate anything I’ve written in the last year, there’s very little that I adore.
I walked and I walked and then I was almost home. Turning the corner onto our road, I felt a sudden wave of gratitude for the Oliver of a year ago who decided to embark on this path. And even if the biggest lesson has been that I don’t ever want to do it again, well, at least I know that now.