Monday, September 5, 2022 - column #7111
I hear and read of people – from beginner/amateurs to celebrated professionals – about the cursedly horrible ailment they call writer’s block.
My view …
As someone who has been writing every day for two decades, I acknowledge that inspiration and the coming together of our best pieces are not simple nor necessarily consistent. To me, the notion of not being able to write is absurd. While we might not always write anything worthy of sharing with anyone – to admit defeat at the hands of a formidable foe, the blank white page, is akin to saying your head has no thought, your eyes see nothing or your ears don’t work.
If we sit at a keyboard and write only rubbish, at least that’s writing. We don’t need to show anyone, but we can put down the keystrokes or hand-write some notes – unless we are brain-dead, we have thoughts.
Whether staring out a window or racing to a collision with a deadline, my mind is in mid-thought all the time, and so is yours.
Granted, thoughts aren’t always for publication – but that doesn’t prevent us from putting them on the page – and what we put on a page shape-shifts in ways we might never dream.
If we want to be successful in any sport, we have to train and practice. A little or a lot, and preferably every day, if we are going to improve and be worthy of competing at any level.
The same, I submit, is valid for writing. Write, write, write, then write some more. It doesn’t have to be good – it just needs to be yours.
My preference is to write the truth about my feelings, to describe my thoughts, to confess to the page what I am mulling in my mind, to paint word pictures of what I see, or wish I might see, of what I might desire and dream – to imagine something. I don’t think it matters how original or unique or ‘never thought of before’ writing needs to be; it just needs to be done.
A blank page, blank canvas, or blank wall is a medium waiting to receive the brush strokes that paint a picture to tell a story. Writing thoughts and telling stories in print on the page does the same. Just as a painter might start with a sketch, a massive novel or movie script begins the same way – with words on a page.
Write some words today. Put them away.
Write some more words tomorrow. Put them away.
After a few days or weeks, some of those writings might be faint memories of a thought moment; or opening lines in the most remarkable story you’ll ever write.
Mark, I like how you described the pandemic as collapsing decades of change into two years. Perhaps dealing with that is what made everyone so angry and a little self-centred. I think finding a way to diffuse that anger would solve other problems: problems that we all should be trying to solve, HM, Calgary, AB
So true!, SF, Lethbridge, AB