Britney Spears does 1,000 abdomen crunches. Every day. It’s true. I saw it on one of those shows. She said one thousand crunches a day. Or almost every day. She thinks she might sometimes miss a day or two. Imagine if she wrote 1,000 words a day instead? Better yet, imagine if I wrote 1,000 words a day?

Well, I do actually–often more, much more. It’s just that not all of them are on paper. The majority of the words I write stay somewhere else–in between thought and fingers and keyboard, waiting for a chance to be spewed onto the page.

For me, it is something like speaking. There are times when I don’t speak because I’m writing what I want to say in my head instead (or worse, I think I’ve said something and only thought it). Typically, it sounds much better in my head than it does coming out of my mouth anyway. Same for writing, better in my head than on the page–much.

It’s all about anticipation of the reaction–will there be fame or shame?

Say you are in a classroom. The instructor has asked a question. You know the answer. You alone—you’re sure of it. No one else could possibly know this answer and when you say it, when you WOW them all with your brilliance, it is going to be great. The teacher will be impressed with you, the other classmates will hate you and yet you hesitate. The time is not right for you to speak, maybe the instructor is still speaking (and you wish he would shut up so you could say what you have to say. Just shut the fuck up would you? Let me speak! I know the answer!) and the pressure builds and your face gets hot.

Or maybe it’s your fear, your doubt. Do you really know the answer? You? Come on! Don’t be so stupid. You are going to open your mouth and the words will come out and everyone will laugh because you are such a fool. They will all know that you never should have been allowed in the class anyway. It’s a fluke. You are way out of your league.

But the words are pushing to get out and yet for whatever reason you are mute. You can’t open your mouth. Your mouth will not open. You are waiting for just the right time. The right moment when everything comes together and your answer or statement is thrown out to the rest of the class and relief. And satisfaction or humiliation.

So you speak and your answer is the right one and the teacher winks at you and your classmates hate your guts for knowing what they did not know and you sit back all smug and satisfied and feel for once in your life that you might be on the right track.

Or you speak and it comes out all wrong and hackneyed and stupid and all of that hope you put into your answer plops to the ground under your desk. Everyone can see it. Some people might even laugh at it—maybe even laugh behind your back, later, which would be worse. The teacher seems embarrassed for you and quickly changes the subject. You can no longer make eye contact. You may never speak again and think that becoming a cloistered monk doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Or you just never say anything and wonder for the rest of your life what would have happened if you’d spoken. The others might have lifted you up on their shoulders and carried you around the room. You might have won a car. A Nobel Peace Prize was not outside of the realm of possibility. If only you had said something.

Or you are Britney and you do your crunches regardless. You grunt them out, day after day until they are like breathing. And you do it because you want killer abs. You want abs you could bounce a nickel off of.

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