Writing; work and play

One of the hardest things about writing is actually doing it.  It seems like this would be easy, just putting words on paper.   We never have trouble talking, so why should writing be any different.  After all, who ever heard of “talker’s block”?  Talking and writing both involve words, so one shouldn’t be too much harder than the other.

Wrong.  Writing, for some strange reason, can be very difficult.  Sometimes, it’s as if you’re inspired, words spilling out onto your keyboard (or paper).  At other times, more often than we like, writing is tougher than pulling our own teeth.  No fun and essentially unproductive.  Or at least, that’s what we think.

As most professional authors will tell you (and a lot of amateurs, as well), there’s no such thing as writer’s block.  As a certain Mr. Harris put it:  “[It’s]…interesting is that no other craft or industry has a “block.”  Thanks, Mr. Harrison, I needed that.  Writing is an industry, regardless of all the people who want to look at it as an “art”.  Even artists have to eat, which means they sell their art (or get a second job).

When you go to work, you don’t tell your boss “Hey, man, I’ve got cashier’s block”, unless you want to get fired on the spot.  Just trust me on that.  Why should your writing be any different?  You might not have a boss, which means you have to be your own.  If you are a a hobbyist and aspire to nothing more, then fine, you’re free to think you have writer’s block.  It won’t hurt anyone or anything.  But if you’re serious about writing, hoping to make it more than something to do for fun, you’d better stomp into your boots and get to work.

Nobody goes to work every day, just for fun.  Nobody expects to get paid for having fun, because people want to do their own fun stuff, not pay someone else to do it.  You happened to pick one of the few professions where people will pay you to have fun.  You can be PAID to write, which is what you love (I hope) anyway.  You’ve heard the saying “pick a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”?

Writing is a job.  Act like it.  If you’re serious about it, don’t plead writer’s block.  Sit down and work.  It’s not always fun and games, but NOT writing means that you’ll rarely ever get to have fun writing.  If you don’t get past your “block”, all the fun parts of the story that are beyond will never be reached.  If you’re always waiting for your writing to be fun and easy, you never know the satisfaction of doing something few people can do.  If writing was always a breeze, everyone would be a writer.  It’s the people who finish, over and over, that become the really good writers.

The “muse” that disappears and leaves you waiting for more inspiration?  That’s actually you.  The “muse” isn’t coming back, because it wasn’t ever gone.  You just got bored, uninterested, scared, or tired out.  The “inspiration” was a burst of enthusiasm which petered out.  You have to build it back up, work up new enthusiasm.  Excitement breeds excitement, but the bag of chips and the game of solitaire just breed…..more boredom.

Charge in, pen blazing.  You’re a writer, a literary SEAL, and “writer’s block” is your Hell-week.  Get in there, slog through that mud, or you’ll be left behind.  Are you going to leave your characters hanging, or will you be backing them up?  They can’t make it by themselves.

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