Thursday, September 1, 2011

Writer's Block

I’m going to start today’s blog with a rather lengthy quote from American author, Ray Bradbury:

A man is a fool not to put everything he has, at any given moment, into what he is creating. You’re there now doing the thing on paper. You’re not killing the goose; you’re just producing an egg. So I don’t worry about inspiration, or anything like that. It’s a matter of just sitting down and working. I have never had the problem of a writing block. I’ve heard about it. I’ve felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I’d much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, “Well, now it’s writing time and now I’ll write.” There’s no difference on paper between the two.

On first reading this quote may appear to contain a number of quite different ideas: but it does not. Bradbury is talking about inspiration. He’s saying that sitting down and writing is a fundamental part of the writing process. Writers cannot expect to be inspired if they are not actively trying to write.

Bradbury is saying that there is no golden goose. There is no magic that drops awesome story ideas into your mind. Writing begets writing.

I’ve heard other authors say what Bradbury says here: that they cannot detect in their own writing a difference between those bits where the ideas flowed like a flood, and those were the ideas did not flow at all.

In my experience, keeping notes of your ideas as they come to you - noting them down before they evaporate from your mind - will help you when you are sitting at your desk chewing your pencil, trying to decide what to write.

Let your words be the wick for more words.

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