Tag Archives: New York City

Doubt II

What IS writer’s block? I used to think it meant “not knowing what to write.” I don’t believe that anymore. It’s got to be more complex than that. The Gotham Writer’s Workshop–based in NYC–sends out a newsletter, which often includes a mini-interview with established authors. The first question each author is asked? ‘What are some methods for overcoming writer’s block?’ (I apologize, this is not the question verbatim). Nine times out of ten, these writers will claim that the proverbial ‘block’ is nonsense. Most will swear it’s an invention of the mind. Some say there isn’t enough time for writer’s block, because there is just too much writing to do.

I have absolutely no reason to doubt them. They’ve published, sold, gained readers, etc. And quite frankly, I don’t think I have it–the ‘block’ that is. Because, in the current stage of my novel, I know what I want to write. I know what is going to happen next. Usually once I sit down to work on manuscript, new ideas come, old ideas get trashed, the characters’ voices take over my thoughts and so on and so on. In this sense, I agree. The best way to cure writer’s block is to WRITE! Sit down, and scold yourself. Say, ‘you may not get up from this chair for one hour. After that you are free.’ Surprise, surprise. Writing gets done.

So, if the lack of flowing ideas is the surface of this awful affliction, I think my current problem goes a few layers deeper. See, I haven’t posted on this blog since March 4th. My plight is more complicated. It’s doubt, and it’s back. I’ve written about the D word before. It goes something like this…what if my idea doesn’t have a place in the current market, what if deep down, my story is total crap, even if I do publish, will anyone care, how many people even read this blog? What do I really want to come from this story? Am I too old? Am I running out of time? Can I call myself a writer if I have virtually nothing to show for it? And then, the big question: Is it even worth it?

I’d write all day if I could. I love it. Plain and simple, that’s why I do it. But these questions consistently flow through my mind in a steady stream. I know this much. I will complete my novel. I promised myself I would. So I will. After that….???

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Filed under Inspiration, The Writing Life, Writer's Block, Writing Process, Writing Tips

I defend my right to write

“The real writer learns nothing from life. He is more like an oyster or a sponge.”
—Gore Vidal

I want to talk about this one for a bit. What makes a real writer? Extensive travel? Interesting parents, background, etc.? Exemplary intelligence? Does it take having something ‘special?’ Luck, perhaps? All of the above?

If so, well, I’m in trouble. Often when I meet or read/hear about other writers, there seems to be a cloud of “interesting-ness” (I’m aware that I just forged a word) surrounding them. Their fathers were award winning professors who drank a lot, their mothers were mentally unstable poets, they’ve been married and divorced ten times, they lived in Sri Lanka for two years, and Venice for three. Now they live in either a bustling, ambitious, intellectual city (i.e. New York) or in some lovely country home–lakefront, oceanfront, etc.

I have no clue where I’m getting this from. Of course it’s not even true. But somewhere in my mind, I believe it is, especially in comparison to my own life, which I’m readily willing to admit is frankly, ordinary. Happy, safe, wonderful, but ordinary.

Yet, I’m still a writer inside, an intrinsic writer that is. Is there a difference between a ‘real’ writer and an ‘intrinsic’ one? Can one decide to become a writer at a point in life after an array of odd and uncanny experiences? Is that possible? Or does the urge always have to be there? What if it’s all one’s got? No therapist’s dream of a childhood, no complexities of love or of the heart, no real travel except for 5 nights in Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding (OK, I’ve been to more places), and no living abroad. Just the natural inclination to write, write, write?

Well then, I suppose that’s all there is. I defend my right to write.

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Filed under Breaking the Rules, Breaking Through, Inspiration, The Writing Life, Why We Write, Writing Fears