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.”

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

Kristin Nicola: Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

Meeting you where you are to take you where you want to be!

Thoughts

By Dr. Lisa Robinson

Bending Genre

Essays on Creative Nonfiction

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

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

Alzheimer's Association | Blog

Continuing conversations on Alzheimer's Disease

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

%d bloggers like this: