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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where's the New Writing At, Yo?

In the past few weeks, three writer/reader friends have complained that I haven't sent them any new material in a long time. Their complaints aren't unfounded - I haven't had anything new to share in months - but how to respond?

Is this writer's block? It doesn't feel like writer's block. It's simply that I'm not writing. I have bits of ideas floating about... a blind dog... stolen photos... invented families... the primordial goo from which I generally craft my stories. But none of it is properly coagulating.

It's as if I've got all the ingredients for cooking a three course meal, but I'd rather just call for delivery.

Last night, my friend suggested that I stop trying to cook the three course meal, and instead, I focus simply on appetizers. In writing terms, what I mean is that he suggested that I write something short and light.

The suggestion made sense to me... but... I still feel some resistance. I think somewhere along the way writing stopped being fun. It started to feel like a very painful job that I just don't want to go to. That's not writer's block.

No matter what it is, I need to carve out some time this weekend - some special time, in a special place - to do some writing. I need to find a way to make writing fun again.


stu said...

I've had exactly this problem. You get to the stage where it feels like hard work, maybe even like one of those 'proper job' things I've heard so much about.

It's the whole, 'I'm a writer and need to be a tortured soul writing bleak, worthy tomes' mentality, and it's no good for you. If you start to think that accountancy might be more fun, you really, really need to take the whole thing less seriously.

Write something fun, something that makes you smile to read it. Better yet, write something that makes you smile to write it.

Sven said...

It's times like these that I'm reminded of something my personal savior and all around BFF Bat Masterson would say:

"If you want to hit a man in the chest, aim for his groin."

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the easiest way to get started is with a really easy line of dialog. It can be super easy to jump off of. I've been playing around with "Charley, I can't stand you anymore," for ages. I haven't used it in an actual story yet, but it seems to be the thing that gets me started working every time.

Pieces that are fun and light in spirit tend to be fun and light to write. This is of course coming from someone who is writing an agonizingly tortured book, so do ignore me.

I agree with Stu... in no way should this be a "proper job".

Stephanie said...

Thank you all for the support and advice, I'm definitely going to try to put some fun back in my writing this weekend - if I can find a cool place to do it. But I wanted you all to know I found your comments very reassuring (and funny, Sven), which was apparently, just what I needed.

Thank you!