Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blocking the Writer

A writer who stops writing isn't.  That's the problem with being a writer, you're only a writer if you write.   You can be a teacher and have summer vacation.  You can be a lawyer and not have a case.  You can be a mother even if you're not doing anything, even if not doing anything is so rare as to be thought mythical.  But writing and being a writer requires daily production and lately, I haven't had the time, energy or drive to write.  Writers if they're professionals, write when they're not inspired. They write 1000 words a day minimum even if it gets edited down to two.  

I've done that but lately, it's been more, other things had to take priority and so writing always came last.  After a week of letting writing be last, I began to feel shaky about being a writer, knowing I'd logged only about 2000 words that week, an all time low even factoring in weeks I took off from writing and those when I gave birth!  Reading and researching still count toward growing one's skills as does editing, but to be a writer, you have to churn words the way Michael Phelps swims laps.  You can't be a writer if you don't write, you can only be a want-a-be-writer if you make it a hobby. 

So I spent the day looking for something, anything to carve out a column from, and found my writing senses decidedly dulled, blunted by the lack of use, as if brain atrophy had already taken over when I'd jogged those mental muscles for 365 days a year for now going on 7 years.  It doesn't take much for the brain to stop playing with words, just neglect which turns to sloth which turns to never.  I can easily recall days when columns hung low like ripe fruit, but today, the harvests are few and the labor much.

Fortunately, I belong to a writer's forum where the leader/president of the writing group discusses common aliments of writers, and saw myself in his piece.  His advice? Write the blah blah blah until something better shows up.  Pushing through the fog of writer's block is not because the author/writer doesn't have anything to write, but because the drive/ the heart of writing seems blunted and stunted. The writer doesn't feel like writing.  His prescription? Pushing through by punishing your brain, writing an extra hour or an extra 1000 words.  

So I've started here.  I'll be over on the cloud working on Penelope until I get to 80K. 

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