Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writers Write

It's taken me quite a while to work up to this blog. Two years ago I had the inspiration but it was unfocused – should I write about my beloved home state of Indiana and expound its virtues or should I write something else? I wanted to start a writer's blog but I didn't want to just write about writing because that seemed both self-serving and too restrictive. In July I penned my first entry, choosing the latter subject as the focus of my blogging based both on what I wanted to write and what didn't seem to be present on the web…but soon after I found myself mired in the doldrums of being unsure what I should say and how. Between those two pointed rocks I sat, pinioned and immobile while the world ambled past. There's something to be said for momentum. It can keep you in motion but it's equally good at keeping you stuck right where you are.

Today I penned a few words for another blog I write and I found myself in a groove. The blog itself (Blue Suede Souls) is about dancing and as I wrote I realized that I'd strayed afield of the subject of dance. I was writing about culture and pop art and generally having fun. Before I knew it I had over a page of text (as MS Word flies) and it'd seemed like nothing. The sentences just flowed from fingertip to keyboard to screen and on to publication. That's when it struck me. The problem was worrying over what I should write instead of just writing.

Back when I was in high school I had a creative writing teacher who handed down an old cliché about writers. He said "writers write – always." I think the point was to get us interested in journaling and keeping the sort of notes that many writers go back to for subjects for their novels and short stories. As I'm reentering my blog concept today I can't help but think on those words and realize the nugget of truth that makes any good cliché. I should write and I must write if I want to be a writer. There are no right subjects, there are no right approaches, there only is writing and not writing.

In my head I can feel the tickle of a good rationalization forming. It goes something like this: Over the last seven months I've found out that the company I work for is pulling up roots here in Indy, spitting its operations up, and sending them to the east and west coasts. This, of course, means practically everyone in the building will be losing their jobs. Starting in December the first people will be without work - merry freaking Christmas. Due to my role in the company (babysitter of the documents) I'm "lucky" and my job will be one of the last to go. I've got until October, 2010 before my job wends its way coastward. So I've been investing my time in fretting over making a paycheck and watching the place slowly dissolve.

That's the rationalization. It's probably a really valid one. It's an emotional time and it's hard to focus. The thing is that rationalization really is just an excuse. I firmly believe where there's an excuse there's something that'll never get done - and I don't want my writing career to be something that doesn't get done.

So, here's to writers writing. Here's to living the cliché. Here's to putting in the hard work that is being a writer - rain, shine, and when you really don't feel like putting pen to paper. Here's to having at it.

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