You woke up tired and aching a bit. Eat a good breakfast and write a page or two of anything you’d like. Empty document. Staring down into the brown of your mug, you can feel the pouchy bags under your eyes. Remember, you were a person before you were a student.
For half an hour, go for a run by the river, or become a tiny figure hidden in the crowds of the city streets. Realize you don’t have to sacrifice your body for your mind, and that your mind doesn’t thrive only on black-on-white pages or haunted glowing screens. Draw in deeply through your nose and let clean, brisk outdoor air flow in.
When you talk to people, be honest about the negatives and effusive with the positives. Be genuine with the questions and frequent with the nods. Hold the door for people because their hands are full, not so you can be the “type of person” who does.
Wear a watch instead of checking your phone. Stare at the warm face across the lunch table instead of down at a thin little mechanical box whose insides you can’t understand.
It’s okay to check your email maybe two or three times a day. Simon told us over soft guitar that he could gather all the news he needs from the weather report. Don’t let Productive guilt you or hold you down, and set Productive aside when you need to. Take twenty minutes to lay down your thoughts on a blank sheet instead of spending eight on a newsfeed.
Look at what’s on top of your desk and in your bookshelf and remember you’re here because the contents of each work satisfy an intrinsic longing for something beyond the damp small-town newspaper you’d be picking up off your beloved childhood porch at home right now. Thank your home for instilling your passion and curiosity, no matter what it looked like.
Yes, you’ll have to sit back down at your computer, and open that document, and prop those textbooks back up precariously on the piles on your desk. You’ll have to start, which is painful, or start fixing things you’ve done poorly, which is often worse. Don’t think about the percentage that will stamp the paper later, though. The aftermath. Think about the present, and the ideas that are composing the paper. Spin and weave your present ideas as strong, golden fibers.
Look through the paper into my eyes. Yours. Hazel looking into hazel. Cracks and light spots and morphs and nuances, brown to green. Look alive. Look bright. You’ve done this before, and you’re going to be fine.