Recently I’ve been reading more blogs, advice, questions, comments, and shared works of other writers than I ever have before, and there’s something that’s occurred to me: on the whole writer’s grumble. A lot. And I’m including myself in there too, even if the majority of mine has been private – reading something and nodding along, going ‘yeah, that’s it exactly!’ or ‘been there!’, moaning to family. That is, until now. Today I join the grand tradition of on-line, outspoken grumbling writers.
Now I’m not saying we’re the only one’s to do so, and after all, we have a lot of difficulties to grumble about:
- Grammar and punctuation (firm favourites)
- Finding agents, getting published, and everything connected (huge topics admittedly)
- Getting started on a project
- Finishing a project
- Editing your work
- Finding time (That can be a big one, though most who really want to write do it seems)
- What is done (and not done) when submitting work to competitions, agents, publishers, website etc.
- . . .and I’m sure there’s plenty more.
Surprisingly though, my experiences have also provided me with the impression that those who write are (again, on the whole) positive, honest, helpful people who enjoy connecting with other writers. Possibly because other writers are some of the few ‘who can understand’, and inadvertently make you feel better with their own stories of rejections and struggles! They also wouldn’t – or couldn’t – stop writing even if they wanted to.
Something I’ve never seen mentioned though, except in the form of how to get it, is inspiration. It’s always writer’s block is the trial of every writer. Understandably so, but here’s something to think about:
Being inspired can be as troubling, irritating and difficult as being blocked.
I can hear already the derisive snorts, the ‘I’d be so lucky’, see the hands waving me away, telling me to shut up and be thankful. . . but hear me out. In some ways the two are very similar: being blocked means you can’t work and if you try to it really doesn’t turn out well. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply put your computer/laptop/typewriter/pen away and try to forget about anything to do with writing for a while. Try that for a week and then go back. In the meantime, no thinking about it, no jotting notes, or sneaky ‘I’ll just give it one more try’ s.
Being inspired, you have so many ideas all wriggling in your brain at once. You note them down under ‘future projects’, only they won’t go away. They want to be done right now, even if you’re in the middle of something else. If you switch to that one, another comes clamouring forward so you can’t focus. Short stories, fine, maybe you can write a few at a time, or work intensely and get them done quickly, but novels? Trying new things? And even if you do manage, will it really be your best work?
Writer’s Block: when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.
Over-inspired: when your imaginary friends all start shouting and won’t shut up!
(Not sure if ‘writer’s block’ saying needs to be credited – I’ve seen it several places but don’t know who said it originally. The second one’s all me as far as I know!)
Anyone else seeing any parallels here, or is it just me? Anyone care to share?
So here’s me peeking out of the complaining closet, and to keep up the tradition of also being helpful, cheerful and polite: a quick thanks to all those who’ve helped me whether you know it or not; answering questions, giving inspiration, encouragement, or a good shove as needed, sharing your own experiences, and providing feedback on my work. I hope I can someday help a newbie writer like I have been.
Because no matter the difficulties, or if I never get published, I’m not going to stop writing!