Sometimes I sit in front of the computer and things come easily; inspiration, words, themes, ideas, visions, phrases, characters; all of it comes flooding out in a cataclysmic outpouring of emotion and prose.
Other times, like today, I develop the thousand mile stare. The blinking icon, the blank page; it is the bane of my writing existence.
There’s another thing, sometimes I get angry with myself when I feel I should be writing more, or writing better, or when I don’t write at all; I get down. I start to feel like I’m losing my grip on things. I feel like it’s all slipping away; the writing, the career, the manuscript, the book deal, everything.
Sometimes when I write something that I feel is a steaming pile of compost I start thinking that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer. Maybe I was meant to be a sanitary engineer, or a gas station attendant, (or as one wag called himself, a “petroleum distribution technician”) but a funny thing happens; someone tells you that a story you wrote six months ago inspired them to dust off their old notebooks and start writing again, because someone or something in the past destroyed that love of writing for them. Someone told them they couldn’t, or shouldn’t do it. Or they just gave up.
At these times, I feel blessed that I have these abilities, and then I get back on the computer and write like hell.
At this moment of course, each word and sentence I’m typing is causing me agony. I’m writing when I shouldn’t be, that is, when I usually don’t. An hour ago I was staring at the screen watching the MS Word icon blink away, the blank page behind it white as snow. When this happens I usually just get eye strain or switch back to that time-eater called Twitter. Or I go watch TV; anything but this.
But I decided to fight through it, and not get down on myself. I’m beginning to see the merit in it.
Writer’s remorse? Imagine feeling guilty because you didn’t write anything one particular day. Seems ridiculous, but it happens. Writing comes from the soul (usually) and the words come from the heart (usually), but those avenues fail me sometimes. Writing and I are close friends. I hate letting friends down, and I hate letting myself down even more.
I mean, it’s not like I forgot to feed the dog, or left someone waiting at a street corner for six hours because I forgot we were supposed to meet up. This is writing for crying out loud, and yet, the guilt.
I will suppose here that this guilt comes from the fact that I tell everyone I know that I’m a writer. I tell them that I’m working on a manuscript, that I’ll be published someday, all of that rhetoric. I want them to believe it, and to believe in me. And when I tell myself that I want to be a writer and that I want to be published someday, I want to believe it too. But its hard work, It tears your heart out! And sometimes when nothing’s getting written you start feeling like all you do is flap your gums and talk about writing instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing, which is writing. People aren’t stupid, they see this too.
The point of writing is to write, and if you’re not writing, what’s the point? Stupid as that sounds, there’s a simplistic logic to that.
I am a writer, I write, or try to. And sometimes when I don’t write I feel bad. I shouldn’t. Writing isn’t like taking out the garbage or washing the dishes (it can be just as odious sometimes), it is a highly cognitive affair; the art of it, the feel and flow of it, stems from whatever the hell is dwelling in your soul at the moment, and if nothings dwelling, there’s nothing to be written. In this manner I may excuse myself. Who can write 24 hours a day and keep up a consistent pace and quality? Maybe God can, but I can’t.
Writer’s remorse? Forget it.
Some days it’s a fight, like today is for me. My head was jammed with stressful thoughts ranging from money, to work, to the new apartment I’m moving into next week. Then there’s the blog, a minor beast which needs to be fed. I finally put these headphones on, and now Beethoven is helping me get through this post. It’s a fight sometimes, but man, when you start winning it feels so good.
Writer’s remorse? Forget it!
I’m finished with feeling bad about not reaching my quota, or not getting any pages written, or writing a page full of dung; that’s me baby! Besides, you can edit anything and make it readable, even dung. So don’t feel bad that you didn’t reach 6000 words today, or that you have developed cataracts from staring at that blinking icon and that blank page, forget it! Go for a walk, take a day off, think about something else, forget writer’s remorse, forget it all for awhile and go recharge your brain-battery, you’re only human.
And when you come back to that page, be blessed that you have that gift of words in you. Someday you may change someone’s life with that gift.
Writer’s remorse? Forget it.