Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Write Anyway

There is a growing contingent of people who believe writer's block is the writer's fancy way of making laziness or procrastination sound more "arty" and even admirable. It's a kind of creative martyrdom.

"I want to write...I need to write...I just can't do it right now. The muse's are being too cruel."

Sounds good. But it makes me yawn.

Yes, anyone who has had the urge to write has from time to time been vexed by the blank page, or even the next paragraph. Sometimes it feels like you've run out of things to say. You're washed over by a wave of anxiety that maybe you're done, there's nothing left in you. Perhaps you feel an anger. A wall has been erected separating you from your creative genius, denying you the wit and spellbinding prose you imagined. I suppose you could call THAT writer's block. The thing is, it takes more than that to stop a writer. A writer writes anyway. It might be crap, it might be lofty. It doesn't matter, because it's written. That's better progress than all the bemoaning coming from those who haven't spilled any ink.

A writer writes.

That's not to say things don't keep writer's from writing, but that's always the writer's choice. An argument with a loved one can ruin your day, or it can inspire a character's rage. Feeling sullen or ill can keep you from the keyboard, or that keyboard may be your therapy.

I'm not interested in people who say they write, but don't. To me the one who struggles over which words to cut or add, or feels pain over tone or tempo is a far more engaging person than one who laments that the writing gods aren't favoring them today.

Give me a break.

A writer writes.

I've fallen down on my novel. I've not picked it up to edit it since that dreadful chapter twelve got under my skin. I'm not blocked. I'm chicken shit. I'm a damn good writer and could fix it in thirty minutes, if I sat down and faced it. Instead I've written other things. Poems, business articles, newsletters. I've not stopped writing. I've stopped working on that project, and it's pissing me off. That's my responsibility. Not the kids who want to play, not the loved one who provoked a draining argument, not the economy which fills me with financial tension. No, righties, it's not even Obama's fault. It's mine.

A writer writes, that's the thing that makes a writer unique to everyone else. So don't be a hack. The next time you bleat about not writing, at least put it in an email so you will have written something.