Monday, February 6, 2012

Inspiring words about not feeling inspired


Laurel Garver has a fascinating post up about the less glamorous aspects of writing, about showing up even when it's not easy:
"According to Steven Pressfield in The War of Art, my best preparation for a writing career was having a string of really crappy jobs to put myself through school. Why? It's essential to learn to do what it takes to get to a larger goal."
(Do read her post at least long enough to get to the part about the giant Strawberry Shortcake foam head!)

And that reminded me of Kate Messner's recent post about writing even when we're not inspired:
"But if you want writing to be your job, you can’t really just wait around for those rare and sparkling moments."
"It’s okay if you don’t feel inspired to write. If you want to be a writer, just write anyway. It will work out."

And, in a similar vein, Nathan Bransford posted about returning to writing after a break:
"Remember, the first day back is just about getting back into it. It's not going to be your best day. It might not be fun. But you did it."

What these posts share is an acknowledgment of the work side of writing, the sheer perseverance necessary to get us through page after page, through all the setbacks and detours. The common message is: Show up. Even if your muse is sacked out elsewhere, snoring away, show up. Put something down on the page. It doesn't matter if it isn't great--you can fix it later.

I have to say, my worst day writing still beats my best day at my high-school-era job. Writing is fun, but it's also work. I don't sit down at my computer and have golden-winged faeries deliver my words gift-wrapped in glitter paper. It's true that writing is more like digging words out of the earth: it's uncertain, sweaty work, and the words need a lot of polishing before they're fit to be seen.

11 comments:

  1. Damn, I was sure the golden-winged faeries were on their way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they at your house? Send them over! ;-D

      Delete
  2. Most of my six hours of revision today felt like wrestling a grizzly bear. But I'd rather spend that time revising than slaving away at a day job. What could be more interesting than wrestling a grizzly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have described some of mine as wrestling an octopus, because at least one tentacle always seems to slip free to slap me upside the head ...

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing this! The first post really struck me. Of course, reading that book she talks about won't make you a better writer either, unless you act on it. The key is to just do it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The other bonus to having worked some crappy jobs is that they give you plenty of stuff to write about. ;-)

      Delete
  4. If we show up everyday, we manage to slog through the dark ones and be jumpy and happy on the great ones.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So true and so wise. Putting something, anything, down on a page is the trick for me. And yes, these pages of writing always need to be revisited and revised--a lot. Great post.

    ReplyDelete