It is tempting to find something else to do, anything besides sitting here and typing new sentences. Why? Not because I don't like to sit here and type sentences. I enjoy the challenge of ordering words, of attempting to make sense of things, mostly, these thoughts that burden me. But what drives me away from writing more than anything else is the sense that I should be doing something important. We writers and artists and musicians become well versed in telling ourselves and the world how high-minded, necessary, and important our work is. And certainly, the arts are a vital part of a healthy human society. But any individual artist is as expendable as a flower in a field full of blooms.
So the nagging never disappears.
When I was in my mid-twenties and just back from the Peace Corps and living in my parents' attic working on a novel, I spent a lot of time fretting about what people would think of me, wasting so much time, sitting alone, writing words that, most likely, no one would ever read. And then one day, it dawned on me, that the neighbors have much better things to do than to worry about what I was doing with my time. That was a great relief. Yes, the nagging can fade to a near silence, though it never completely disappears. Some days, it roars: You have spent your morning writing a few paragraphs for your blog when you could have been volunteering at the school or cooking a meal for the homeless or tending your neglected garden or clearing the mess from the basement or writing long overdue thank you letters or communicating with your parents. What a schmuck you are!
But it seems that I'm not going to stop. So, better than berating myself, perhaps it's best to acknowledge that doing something that brings me a great amount of satisfaction and pleasure is good enough. Though it may be easier just to indulge in the delusion that there is nothing more important and necessary than composing this blog post.