Sunday, March 2, 2008

Feeling like writing, fighting writer's block

Feeling like writing: I’ll be honest with you – there are times when I don’t feel like writing. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a project and I have to write any way.

Then something happens. I get caught up in writing and start to enjoy myself. That’s when I figured out that (at least in part) the problem isn’t not wanting to write – its not wanting to start writing.

There’s that old Chinese proverb – a trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Okay, I get the logic of that – but there is something deeper. Taking the first step is not the entire problem. It’s wanting to take that first step that is often the problem. It’s forcing ourselves to take the first step. It’s putting ourselves in some kind of situation where we have to take the first step.

I know that when I’m upbeat, when things are going my way, I can’t wait to get the computer to write on my current project. Unfortunately, those days are not numerous enough.

There’s another saying – this one a little more modern I think although I don’t know who first said it… “Life is so daily.”

I’ve gotten into a rut more than once in my like (okay more than dozens of times.) Ruts are easy to fall into and hard to climb out of. I get in that rut and I don’t want to come out. It may not be exciting, but it’s predictable.

Okay, I’ll stop after this third saying, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Ouch, that hurts because it is so true. Why on earth can’t we as intelligent people convince ourselves to do what we want to do instead of doing what we don’t want to do?

Humans are incapable of perfection. We don’t, we won’t do the right thing. We don’t, we won’t write when we know we should (instead of watching another episode of Dancing with the Stars or NFL Football.)

We could easily wallow in our guilt and frustration and forget about this writing thing.

I wish I had a solution. I know of none. I fight this in my life all the time. I bet you do too. What I can (and try to) do is to realize that I’m like everyone else. Take it or leave it. Maybe that’s the good news in all of this. Even with all of us fighting this problem of human nature – stories DO get written, books are finished, paintings are painted and poems penned. No one can live on a mountain top all the time. We all have to spend our fair share of time in the valley.

But we don’t have to stay there…next time you tumble into that valley, get a grip. Sit down and write one word on a sheet of paper. Then write a phrase, a sentence. More often than not, if you can somehow take that first step, you’ll soon be back on track of taking that trip of a thousand miles (or pages.)

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