Writer’s Sloth

Well, I’ve been a neglectful blogger, haven’t I? I could conjure up all sorts of lovely excuses, but really, it’s not my fault when the white tigers maul the floating fishes on the screen saver. Stupid cats.
Anywho, so, Words. People. Characters. Pets. Blogs. Verbs. Grammar. Snorkel. Whatever am I supposed to talk about?
Some people call it writer’s block. I think of it rather differently. When you say “writer’s block,” it sounds as if there is a usual flow of creative energy — a current of mental electricity — that is temporarily stopped, then, sometime afterwards, started up again. For me, I sit and sit and sit and sit, and stare at the blank page. I can try to “just write it down,” as some writers recommend, but when words come out of my mind through my pen, they solidify like that waxy chocolate ice cream coating, and it’s extremely difficult to reshape or reform that decisive wording. That poor quality remains, and there is nothing I can do to bring it to a higher literary level. It’s better for me to wait for the “lightening” to strike: then, when that happens, I can’t write fast enough: words and thoughts come flowing, spilling, gushing out, tumbling over each other in their eagerness to be expressed. And that inspiration is the stuff I like, the stuff I am proud of, the stuff I think, “aha! This will make a great story someday!”
Someday. It’s a tricky place, that Someday. Is it just me, or is it impossible to set oneself a deadline and actually keep it? I tell myself: “I need to read X-number of pages a night, or X-number of minutes” … “I need to finish editing this story by the end of the month” … “I need to publish a novel within the year.” These are all *possibilities,* but they never become actualities. Why is that? It would be so easy to blame it on human nature … except, there are actually other humans out there who have successfully written, edited, and published books. Many books, in fact. Unless … they are not human. But I’m guessing this is not the case. Sigh.

4 thoughts on “Writer’s Sloth

  1. jubilare says:

    “Snorkel” this word always makes me giggle a little inside, even when it is used in context.

    While acknowledging that everyone is different, I would still advise you on trying very hard to cultivate the ability to edit. If it helps, I can give you some of my stuff (especially my old stuff *shudder*) to practice on. Lightning-inspiration is great and wonderful, but it isn’t enough. At least, I have never experienced or seen it be enough. Even what the lightning produces benefits from refining, and if there is one thing that always seems to help me through uninspired periods, it is re-reading and editing what I have written before.

    Sometimes a scene doesn’t work, and you know it never will, but let it hold its place until what is meant to go there comes. And some scenes you think will never work, have some seeds in them that, with editing, grow to change a bad scene into a fantastic one.

    • Glad to have you back online, Jubilare 🙂

      Snorkel! I also like the word “quark.” And “effervescent.” And “palatal fricative” (my new non-swear word).

      Sigh. I’m actually a great editor — when I’m editing *other people’s* writings. It’s my own stuff that is hard. But yes, it takes discipline, and the only way to develop discipline is to, well, be disciplined! And WRITE!

      I love how the internet is cluttered with blogs and posts and emails and workshops and memes about motivating writers to write. Really and truly, as far as I can tell, the one and only method that actually works is to WRITE. And WRITE. And WRITE MORE. And chance the consequences!

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