Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Writing has become a bit of a … well, not a pain, not quite, since even a pain is a tangible state. More like mental constipation. One of the nicest guys I know has been asking me for a YEAR to write something for him. On one of my favourite subjects. And despite several attempts, I have produced nothing. Like a toddler who’s coaxed to sit upon the pot in hopes that SOMEthing will emerge, but fails to perform.
As you can see, nothing but wind so far. Not even sound and fury. Just … nothing.
There was a blog I used to read because it was interesting. The Bouncer’s Blog. Then it palled upon me. But – and here’s the secret – the Bouncer summed up the only way to become a writer (and of course I’ve mentioned it before, when moaning in a similar vein). To read, then write. Then read and write some more. And then again. Eventually something will emerge that’s worth reading.
John Steinbeck, for a while, worked as regular correspondent for the San Francisco News. The gentleman in the next cubicle – whose name, of course, I forget – recalled that Steinbeck would come in and spend an hour writing on foolscap paper with a pencil, then throw it away. When asked why, he said “Oh, those are just my warm-ups”. Warm-ups. The first thing that occurs to you, gentle reader, is of course the amount of money that could be made today if those warm-ups had been preserved. The next thought that comes to me is that writing, like any other sport, requires warm-ups.
The problem with being totally out of shape is that by the time one is warmed up, one is also utterly exhausted.