I think I’ve written more creative things these past few months than I have since my NaNoWriMo experiment/disaster. I’m being intentional about it because I have some lofty goals I’ve set to accomplish and I’m also making up for lost time.
I feel like I can really identify with this quote by Russell Baker, which was featured on my Google homepage today:
The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicions that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.
Well, I can identify up until the last point. If anything, I’ve learned that writing is really hard work and those fleeting moments of inspiration are so hard to pin down. Sometimes I let my fear of rejection from potential publishers dampen my creativity or spend too much time agonizing over the tight-knit Canadian literary scene and what they’re looking for, certain I’m not it. Things like reading the bios of hot young writers/poets (many of whom are younger than I am!) and their extensive list of published works and creative accomplishments can be discouraging and depression-inducing.
To my writer friends out there: how do you push past these mental blocks and produce work? Do you have a controlled environment in which you write? A time of day when you’re the most creative and productive? Positive affirmations? Magic elixir that helps translate the jungle of your brain smoothly onto the page?
And that’s another thing. Sometimes I feel like all of the beautiful language is floating around somewhere, just beyond my reach. Like there’s all of these surprising metaphors and heart-stopping adjectives that I can’t grasp. They wander around in my head like phantoms and vanish when I try to write them down (nasty buggers!). I envy writers like Colum McCann and Kazuo Ishiguro who make writing seem so effortless and yet come up with the most luminous lines.
Colum McCann is also a babe, and totally belongs on my Sexy Authors list!
Needless to say, I need some encouragement. What better place to find it than from other writers?
There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein — Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have enough outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt — Sylvia Plath
I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws at us all — Richard Wright
If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it — Toni Morrison
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart — William Wordsworth
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible — Vladimir Nabokov
Easy reading is damn hard writing — Nathaniel Hawthorne
The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I have to do is find it, and copy it — Jules Renard
Every writer I know has trouble writing — Joseph Heller
Writer’s block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite — Terri Guillemets
Writing is a struggle against silence — Carlos Fuentes
Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper — Isaac Bashevis Singer
Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake — E.L. Doctorow
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves in the proper pattern at the right moment — Hart Crane
It’s impossible to discourage the real writers — they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write — Sinclair Lewis