Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Block

Ernest Hemingway once said “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

I've taken a curious interest to the lives of successful writers lately. Mainly because I think I would like to be one. Actually it is quite more like a need to be one, an inner stirring that is compelling me to put pen to paper (okay, let's face it. I don't write much with pen and paper anymore. Who does?). Still, despite the fact that I am not yet en route to producing something actually printable, I would still like to know what kind of life I'd be getting myself into.

So far, my findings have been thus: it's hard.

In my mind, writing has been some romantic notion of combining my feelings with the written word. That is how it has always worked for me. It is effortless, like it's seeping out of my heart through my fingers and onto the page. Hemingway also said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed” and up until now I have whole-heartedly agreed. This theory of mine explains why my writing is sporadic in time. It just doesn't happen unless there is some emotion welling up within me that needs escape. However, I am learning that to be true to myself in my desire to write I have to also be willing to trudge through the muck. Sticky, gooey, hard to get through muck. Like these past few months of hemming and hawing over What do I write? Maybe this, maybe that and in turn feeling stuck because I'm not writing something “productive” which then makes me not want to write at all. Stephen King said it best, “ Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel s**t from a sitting position.” Thanks, Steve. I appreciate you making me feel better about the whole thing, even if your books aren't exactly jill-friendly.

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