When it hurts like a hot turd

When the ideas or the words aren’t flowing, my favourite way to procrastinate is to read about writing. According to Hemingway ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ Charles Bukowski advises ‘Don’t ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.’

Those words always makes me feel infinitely better; if it’s agony for the greats, imagine the pain for struggling mortals.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to dealing with writer’s block. The first is to just buckle down and write. Sit in front of the computer and allow whatever puerile thing you have to say find it’s way onto the screen; it might not be useable but it’ll help loosen your writing muscle.

The second recommends stepping away. Your ideas may be half formed and need time to percolate and bubble up to the surface. They’re more likely to do this when you’re completely absorbed in something other than writing. Ideally something full-bodied and in-the-moment (dancing, surfing, cooking). But something meditative like going for a walk or cleaning the house can also work. As can mundane things like dealing with admin or filing. The point is to stop writing for a while.
quote-anne-lamott

 

During dry spells, I also try be mindful of that old adage that everything in life has a rhythm. There are peaks and troughs, things wax and wane. I sit tight and try keep the faith that the wheel will turn (and hope inspiration doesn’t come knocking in the middle of dinner and bedtime mayhem, as it’s wont to do).

 

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