I keep having trouble writing. I’m dismayed at how many posts I’m writing premised on the situation that I’m having a hard time writing, even if each approaches it a bit differently, even if each day’s problem is its own. There’s a block of clay in my chest and it sinks into my shoulders and it makes them heavy. Of course, when I say I’m having trouble writing, I mean I’m having trouble writing what I want to write. I can always just say words. I can always just tell you about the block of clay. I can always just connect, my mind against the paper, generate a spark by contact, even if it isn’t one that illuminates.

I have a well of words, it floods up through my feet, it chills me, it carries diseases. I can’t express how much I want to express, and trying to work my jaws to say the words they rust and they crumble, useless, onto a page.

I hate this. I want to be better. I keep trying, and I make a seesaw sine wave progress, a bit up and then down, frequency unstable but amplitude climbing. The more I want to be better, though, the heavier the clay gets, and the more of it I have to spit out before I can dig through and into my insides, where the real insights hide. Probably. I hope so.

There isn’t another process but by trying again, and then again. There isn’t a way to do it right the first time: Even if the first try was right, it can’t be shown to be so except by light of the 100th try. I have to do this again and again and again, a million extra lives, Spelunky to Groundhog Day to purgatory, or I’ll never ever get it right.

This is practice. Even after you leave school you never really leave school – although, by the same token, even before you leave you’re already halfway gone. The true masters never stop being apprentices, keep on pursuing the invisible quarry of their vision, and live each day hating themselves for their inadequacies. Probably. I think so.

The more I can improve, the more I ask of myself. This is not a trend that I foresee ending. Even so, I can remember that not all days will be my best, remember that I am climbing many trees at once, and remember that straight paths don’t always lead to great work. I can remember to just let myself be what I can, create what I can, for now.

I’ve said all this before, yes, but I see I must say it again and again, better each time, expanding on the idea piecemeal, until I can finally forgive myself for my rampant everyday inadequacies.

  1. As a fellow writer, I’ve had the exact same problem. We sound so alike that I am afraid for you – and your stories.

    Ergo, I will offer the one solution that worked for me: DANGER. (Or more specifically: Fear of Loss)

    When I knew I was about to lose a charitable housing situation recently, it charged me up to FINALLY finish my first novel in a way that YEARS of NaNoWriMos did NOT. Having only 6 chapters previously, I finished the remaining 63 in two months’ time.

    It was a crazy, arduous, skull-rending time, but it turns out Necessity is ALSO the mother of PRODUCTION.

    I don’t know what you’ll have to do to introduce your OWN brand of danger, but YOU do. I strongly suggest that you do it. :)

  2. lefty44 said:

    right on, stroke – still going…

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