Do not leave the room, keep writing

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The hardest part about writing is getting going with it in the first place. People talk about how they are so drawn to writing, how it pulls them, how their characters talk to them. Good God, I think, it’s bad enough that I talk to myself without my characters getting involved in the conversation. What are you? Schizo? But I know about the characters talking even though I wouldn’t admit it in a blog or anything public.

The creative act, like giving birth is very much a push/pull kind of thing. When you’re giving birth—this is for you men and women who haven’t had a baby: There is part of you pushing to get the baby out and while you are actually pushing, it is the most important thing in the world, but when the moment passes, you really don’t want to go back to doing it again. You keep thinking about it and you keep toying with it and your body is suddenly in motion again and you are pushing again but you want to stop and be anyplace else, maybe in a coffee shop or possibly just lying on the floor of your apartment looking at the ceiling, any place but in this freaking hospital bed having a baby.

That’s how writing is, sometimes it’s going really well and you’re excited and you’re pumped and the words are flying out of you like little birds, but then you get to a hard part, maybe some part you can’t see the end of or you can’t find the middle or even the beginning. You’re stuck, and the problem is that there is no midwife. There is no one to hold your hand and say, bring this baby out into the world! Right now. Do it.

You’re on your own in the room and you’re trying to get up and leave the room. If you are going to succeed as a writer, here is the key, Do not leave the room. Do not get out of the chair. Do not walk away from your computer. You must keep typing. You’ve hit a wall.
And on the other side of that wall is huge story and here are masses of dandelions and wine and lots of sex and crowds of daffodils and poppies and there are wild horses and there are cool dim bars with people who like you and there are train rides and planes to Africa and there is a huge host of wonderful things on the other side of the gate, the other side of the door, the other side of the world. But to get there, you have to write this story. No one is going to have it for you, just as no one can birth your baby for you. (Okay, I know you can have a surrogate, so don’t get all snippy with me, you can also get a ghost writer.) But if you’re going to birth a child, you have to birth that slimy wet beautiful screaming bundle yourself. It’s painful and glorious and terrifying. And it’s worth it, my God, it’s worth it. But, do not leave the room.

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Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. I like this too. I will be the second, but not the last. I have fought with writing since I was young, and now, when I look back, writing has always been with me, but not in the way I imagined. They are words, and we birth them whether we want to or not, and like children they have a life of their own, and we are not in such control over our own lives either.
    Yes, it is cliché, but I am looking for a job (not a big deal it will happen very soon). I test for one job, and want it, or that one, and want that one to, but I know that the one I get will be a surprise, and there will be stories there. I like being led by the Spirit, for it truly is like the wind, and you move from one story to another.


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