Friday, 27 January 2012

The Story of a Writer #100daysofwriting, #amwriting, #writetip, #writersblock

100 days of writing day 9.

I started writing about writing and finding it hard tonight - something that was recommended in the creative writing class I took if you ever got stuck. It's not a technique I've tried before but it definitely worked.

I'd be very keen to hear feedback on this or any of my other pieces.

The Story of a Writer

Sitting there. Writing. Knowing that the words would flow easily once they started. But getting started feels almost impossible. So that should probably be sitting there, not writing. Got to be honest after all.

Wanting to write, needing to write. Longing to write, having to write. That seemed like all life was at the moment. Overwhelming at times but oh so worth it when it clicked into place. Feeling bad, feeling better. Getting it all out on paper or on screen. With smudged ink covered hands and splatters up the arms. Or with the fast rattle of words being pounded out on a keyboard and the sore wrists that can result. Printers that jam on the very last piece of paper in the house. Spilling a drink on the only handwritten copy of what you think is quite possibly the best poem you've ever written. Utter despair when you realise the file is corrupted and great joy when the email comes with that four word response every writer longs to hear: "we'd like to publish."

All of those things were oh so great. Some of the best things of being a writer. Along with a few of the not so great things of being a writer. Those are the things every writer dreams of, the measures of success they aim for. But at the same time these are some of the biggest obstacles any writer prospective or otherwise.

Our writer was sitting there dreaming of all these things. Dreaming and wishing and hoping. But not writing. Oh no, actually writing something that was impossible. The ideas and the words were in his head. But even when give a choice of paper or screen getting them to flow down to his fingers and out for all to see wasn't happening. That was probably a good thing although he'd never admit it to anyone. If he did write something you see then he'd have to do something with it. Put himself out there - and maybe fail. The idea of failure scared him, he'd never properly failed before.

So he sat there, pretending to write but doing nothing at all. Getting annoyed with his writers block and feeling his dream of publication and walking into Waterstones and seeing his book slipping further away. At the same time deluding himself that there was nothing he could do. He considered giving up several times. Because what good is a writer who doesn't write?

Until one day, something changed. And instead of lying in bed plotting the next chapter of the novel he carried round in his head he wrote it down. It wasn't the perfect story he'd invisioned for his first novel. It was gritty, rough and with characters he thought totally unrealistic. Hell he even got 45 pages in before a single word of dialogue was spoken (and it was just a single word - yes - too), something that would never be acceptable in a published novel) But the gap between the words he wanted to write and the blank word document on the screen was being bridged. His fingers were typing now, flying over the keyboard faster than he thought possible (and in case you were wondering his wrists did hurt and there were a lot of typos).

It might not be the best thing ever. His story may never be published and he doubted the Waterstones dream that had haunted him before. But for some inexplicable reason he no longer cared. He was writing. Actually writing with words to show for it and all. He wasn't following a prescribed routine like he had before. He was simply doing and being what he loved - a writer. And nothing else mattered.

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