Every time I pour a glass of chocolate milk, I spill some of it over the side.

It doesn’t make a huge mess and ultimately, more milk goes in the glass than on the counter. I just have to wipe up the small puddle of brown liquid and move on with my day. No harm done.

But I keep doing it, every single time I pour a glass of chocolate milk. Without fail, it happens, especially when I’m focusing on the fact that I always spill chocolate milk every time I pour a glass of it.

This reminds me of my writing. (Stay with me here.) Like everyone else who’s tried to construct one choppy sentence from a string of coherent thoughts, I have ticks and bad patterns that creep into my writing when I’m not thinking about them—but even more so when I’m explicitly trying to avoid using them.

I keep writing because I usually like doing it and I’ve learned from experience and proverbs that practice makes perfect (or at least improvement). Sometimes I wonder, though, if like the glass of chocolate milk I sloppily pour nearly every night, I’m just doing it out of habit. Or maybe I do it because I think I’m supposed to, like drinking chocolate milk because it’s a good source of protein. (Okay, yes, now I may be stretching the metaphor.)

Either way, I’m becoming impatient with myself and the words I’m producing. Why can’t I pour the damn glass of milk right? Even more, I’m frustrated with the words I’m not producing, since I barely have time to write a blog a week with all the menial tasks that take up most of my days. I feel trapped in a cycle of mediocrity, when all I want is a sense of self-worth and purpose.

Gag, I know. This is every 20-something’s trite song and probably every journalist’s burden, no matter their age. Even when Rory was still on The CW, she dealt with it.

Rory

At least I’m in good company.

And really, there are many processes that need changing more than my writing does. Fossil fuel consumption, say, or mass incarceration—maybe the way the milk containers are fucking designed—and other pressing matters.

So I’ll stop moaning about how life is so hard at 23. The sentences are only going to get more complicated from here on out. You might as well keep trying to pour the milk.

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