Thursday, June 12

Writing is not easy

Write,write, write, with all my might
until the words come fast as light.
For now ideas do crowd my head,
quick, quick, quick, get them down before they’re dead.
In each of us is an universe and the struggle to explain-
to others what we see and feel before we go insane.
But to those of us with some pluck,
can write something that doesn’t suck.

Writing is not easy- sometimes it’s like slitting your wrists. It’s like passing a kidney stone or the particularly difficult labor of a child who doesn’t want to be born. When nothing is coming, it’s torture to sit in front of the computer or stare at a blank piece of paper. Try writing when the beast of self doubt is waiting to rip your confidence to shreds or you’re on a deadline or you have just one more sentence to finish that chapter and you’re stuck with creative constipation.

We writers can spend an enormous amount of time avoiding writing when we’re desperate. Novelist Michael Thomas Ford once wrote about the lengths he went to avoid writing and I understood all to well the tactics. Oh wait, I have to do the laundry, then the cat needs to be let in/out several times. I should check my e-mail and pay some bills first so I’m not distracted. Too late for that.

I imagine my muse as a slacker vegging on the couch watching infomercials and eating a bag of chips. I nudge one of her fat legs. C’mon I complain, I got to write something, give me some ideas here I cajole her. No dice.

I long for the end of dry spells when the rush of inspiration threatens to drown me and I can’t get the words down fast enough. It’s like magic or being high. Time holds no power and I’m enthralled by the story unfolding before me. Disreali once said “If I want to read a good book, I writer one.” I used to have the most vivid dreams and wake up still dreaming, I’d lay still so as not to break the spell. I would caress the memory all day as a story emerged then sit down and write for hours in the evening until my hand tired. I couldn’t wait for the reservoir of ideas to fill again. I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next.

But those dreams don’t come by anymore and it gets harder to find inspiration. Writer Fran Lebowitz is right. “If you have a burning restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.”

Take my word dear reader, writing is not for the um. . .shit, I can’t think of the word.

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