Skip to content

On Writing

April 16, 2015

My plan this week was to write. Something. Anything. That has not happened, at least until now. I have myriad excuses – funeral, meeting, new class at the Y, visit with a contractor, weather too nice to stay inside, and too engrossed in a new cozy mystery series. These are not really reasons for sloth – just excuses. The truth is that I have plenty of time to write, but not much will to write.

pWhat is the will to write, anyway? I’ve read countless motivational quips and quotes and stern advice from various authors over the years, things like “If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter (from Dan Poynter), or this one from Louis L’Amour: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Ah, that faucet. If I turn it on, the writing will flow like water. And so here I am, faucet on, waiting for the words to flow.

I think one of my problems with writing is stopping before I even start. I cast about for ideas, believing that I need a plan, worrying that I have nothing to say. The truth is I am scared to begin. I am worried that the finished product won’t be any good.My teacherly self scolds my writerly self to just write. It’s easier to fix something than it is to fix nothing. Enter Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, who explains that “this is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

“Until it’s done,” he says. Clearly, Gaiman is interested in a finished product. Again, my teacherly self argues that a finished product is one that can be revised, rewritten, and improved to the point that the writing is, finally, worth reading, if only to myself. What counts, after the faucet begins to flow is to finish what I start. Again, Neil Gaiman: “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” And I have written, and I have finished writing – at least for today. Tomorrow, I will write again, and I will continue to write “until it’s done.”

Comments are closed.

Notes in the Margin

Life Stories in Literature. Literary Notes & News

Novel Readings

Rohan Maitzen - Department of English - Dalhousie University

Tai Chi Peace Zoom Studio

Master Jody Curley, M.A., Diplomate Certified Teacher


I see,I feel,I write

Everyone Needs an Algonquin

From the Pen Tip of Miss Agatha Whitt-Wellington

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging


An exploration of human experience <br> through essay and image.

Arts & Letters Daily

Reflections on the slightly off-kilter world of Mrs. B

Carol Middleton

Reflections on the slightly off-kilter world of Mrs. B

A Year of Living Kindly

adventures in trying to live a life of kindness

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Daily Discussions of craft and the writing life

%d bloggers like this: