I Figure It’s About Time

A month or so hiatus can be restful. Or so they say.

I say, blogging is restful. A chance to clear the cobwebs and the air, and whatever flurry of ideas are running rampant in my brain. But, I have to admit, that since I started working full time, I have been cleared out of ideas. Not so much ideas, actually, but drive.

So this is something I don’t understand about writers. Real writers. Writers who are disciplined and published and continue cranking things out prolifically. How do they keep motivated. I seem to be motivated by guilt. And a sense of a ticking clock.

Last week the Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander gave a talk at my workplace. One of the audience members asked her about her process, meaning how does she produce her work. What happens when she sits down to write?

Swander, being a witty off-the-cuff speaker, said she doesn’t have any obsessive compulsive traits or routines she does before she begins writing, like sharpening her pencil on a manual sharpener 18 times. She just squeezes it in.

I often imagine myself locked away in some remote cabin for a month or two to crank out an idea I have for a story or novel or essay or something. Just to get it out. Isolation. But I’m sure I’d get distracted and find some way to procrastinate and not get it done. Does this make me not a serious writer. I’d say so. But who knows?

If someone were to take a poll of writers to talk about what motivates them to sit down and write, I wonder what would be the consensus?

I have a pile of ideas I’d like to churn out. But who, really, has the time? Might as well let them fester.

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1 Comment

  1. In “On Writing,” Steven King writes, “Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

    The advice being to view writing as just another task, like paying the bills, driving the kids to school, fixing the broken teevee. It we valorize it too much, waiting for just the right time and place, we might never stop waiting. We might never start writing.

    I think this is part of the beauty of journalism–the “jour” part of the word, writing every day. Writing often doesn’t have to preclude writing well, and there’s always revision to bring in beauty and depth.


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