[Quote] Ideal conditions of nonexistence

21 Jan

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper. ~E.B. White

Today’s quote, for I have decided that Tuesdays will be quote day, is very fitting for this blog and my writing. Which isn’t a good thing.

Being newly serious about writing, I often find myself looking for inspiration, looking for time or energy, or trying to find the right word right now. While thinking of ideas, a dog will wander along looking for a treat and soon I’ll be walking around the block, freezing my ass off, wondering if global warming is a secret plot by Canadians because they’re sick of sub zero temperatures as much as I am. And, of course, you will never have the time, there will always be dishes to wash, laundry to fold and dinner to cook.

To be a writer, you need to write (say it ain’t so!), but waiting for “ideal conditions” will mean you never write, and therefore are not a writer. I am learning this the hard way.

Unfortunately, there is no getting around it. Sitting down and just writing is simply the only thing you can do. Insert butt in chair, write. No excuses mister! “But I don’t know what to write about,” you bemoan. So? Just write, you’ll think of something, or maybe a million things. Maybe a hundred words down the line you will have written something that is nothing like what you started but way cooler.

Space alien war turns into space alien war in the stomach of gazelle that just got killed by a lion and the aliens have to band together to survive on the African savanna. Then half way through the story you realize its not about the war at all, its about the love story between the lions and how the space aliens ruin it all. Where did that idea come from, haven’t a bloody clue. You just start writing and it happens. You condition yourself to make it happen. It won’t be great, it doesn’t have to be. It’s the first draft, you are throwing up on the page. Later you get to pick through and find the diamond that has hardened in your guts.

The only trick there is to writing, is to write. You will have ample chance to make it awesome later, but without words on the page to start with, you’re not going anywhere.

What are some tricks you use to get things done?

  • Jo Strong

    Yes, Alyx,(Alice) you fall into the rabbit hole every time you write, at first falling words onto the page, then ideas popping out of the margins, then prose forming from the chaos, then off with your head… as you battle the editing, finally waking to find that you have accomplished something! Keep it up, I am checking in every so often to read random thoughts expressed in a familial and familiar way, as though you reached into my head and wrote what you found there!

  • I love the metaphors on Alice. Here’s hoping I don’t lose my head trying to keep this up! 😉