I complain all the time about writer’s block, not being able to settle down and do the writing that needs to be done. Then it occurred to me that I write every single day. Every morning I start the day by writing in my journal. So, what’s the difference between that writing and the writing I like to post on my blog and that I want to do for my clients? Well, for one thing my journal is just for me. If I misspell a word, I’m the only one that will see it. If I dangle a participle, so be it, let it dangle. If I ramble, who cares? If I write only two sentences that day or six pages, it doesn’t matter.
It’s doing the writing that goes beyond stream of thought, writing that includes cohesive ideas, good grammar and spelling that slows me down. Then I read a meme on the Writer’s Circle Facebook page. It said, “Forget the rules. Rules are for editors. Just write.”
Ahhhh. The problem is my editor, not me. If only she didn’t live with me. Her room is in my head, and she insists on perfection from the first draft forward. There is no excuse for misspelled words, poor grammar, or incomplete thoughts. “If you really are a writer, then write like you’re a writer, perfect pros from page one,” she says. She shows no mercy, and she creates resistance which is just another name for writer’s block.
In the War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield has this to say about resistance, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”
My resistance shows its ugly head as that internal editor. The fear of not doing it right the first time creates multiple rationalizations for not doing the work. There always seems to be something more important, more urgent, more exciting that needs doing.
Many of the things I find to do instead of write are legitimate. After all, I do have to eat which does require trips to the grocery store. I do have a life and friends who invite me to lunch and a grandson who calls and begs to come over and see me.
In the end, though, none of those things really matter. Pressfield mentions the great writer Somerset Maugham who said, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” Pressfield goes on to say,
“. . .by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come.”
If you are unsure that what he says is true, I can assure you of its validity. How do you think this blog got written after a lull of six months?
“Just write” is my new mantra. I’m sending that internal editor on a much-needed vacation, so get ready. You’re going to hear a lot more from me hence forth.