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Commitment On Demand

An authors group I belong to wants its members to contribute to a discussion using, in their words, “a laughably small commitment of at least 500 words per week.” Laughably small, eh? Maybe for a real writer. Regularly regurgitating 500 words from brain to page might be easy for a thoughtful author. But for some, it takes some serious bingeing to purge that many words intelligently in a steady stream.

So I try to gorge myself with information. I read, consume an incessant amount of talk radio and ingest a steady diet of news programs each evening for dessert. Then I lean over my computer, stick my finger down my throat, and… nothing. I’ve never been able to hurl on demand.

Asking me to provide 500 words of brilliance every week is like asking me to bench-press 500 pounds for an unsustainable period of time. I’m sure with some effort I could get red in the face, swear, throw back my shoulders and lift say, fifty pounds for like two minutes.

Already, and without much effort, I get red in the face, swear and throw the remote at President Obama with the best of outraged citizens. I can argue semi-intelligently with any comprehensionally-challenged liberal. But I’m guessing most people do that routinely.

I’ve also been known to be opinionated from time to time; but I don’t have much aptitude for serious, continual genius. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments. I can think up magnificent mind-blowing comebacks even if they are after-the-fact.

I guess the bottom line of my insecurity to pledge 500 words a week is a reluctance to commit. Being committed restricts my freedom and I love being independent. Commitment is hard and I like things easy.

Or is my reluctance to commit because of my insecurity? What if my writing is lame? What If I’m not as smart as I think? More accurately, what if I’m stupider than I thought? It might be better simply not to try than to fail.

On the other hand, there’s no telling how far any truly committed person can go. Not much is out of reach for someone of any propensity if they stay the course. Whatever you’re committed to doing gets easier and you get better at it with time. It’s as simple as that.

Hmmm. Maybe the more you demand commitment of yourself, the more commitment you can give on demand?

Anyway, please don’t ask me if I committed to the writer’s group, because I’m not sure I’m going to become a pledgee or not. Before I make a decision I’m going to gobble up some smarts along with a bottle of ipecac and see what shakes out.