Not writing, after a time, is as pleasant as a warm bath.
I love this post over at How Not to Write. First off, it says right at the top of the blog, “If you’re reading this, you’re not writing. Obvious but true.” Which hit me like a little jolt. And made me think about writing. (Nice Job Jamie Grove!) Ok, I don’t feel completely guilty since writing this blog is part of what I do. But still.
The image of not writing being like a warm bath is so dead on. It’s something that once you’ve been in the tub for awhile, it’s so, so hard to do anything but stay underwater. It’s so hard to even think about writing once two days have become three. And three have become four weeks. And then it starts to become overwhelming. So why do it? Why be overwhelmed? Why write at all, it’s just going to be bad, right?
My own personal image is wanting to stay in my warm bed in the middle of the night when I have to pee. I have to get up but I’d really rather not. So I don’t. Which is the wrong choice. Whoops, too much information?
The trick though is that moving from a not-writing writer, to a writing writer isn’t as drastic as you think. It doesn’t have to be epic. It doesn’t have to be as shocking as wrenching yourself from warm soothing water or a cozy bed. It can be as little as sticking your hand out from under the covers and writing a few words in a journal. That’s it. That is writing. Being a writer is putting words on the page, not sitting around waiting for the right words to go on the page. Not waiting for writing to become good. Writing is putting all the wrong words on the page and being satisfied. Because rightly or wrongly, writing did happen. And once you start, it’s not that impossible to imagine writing again. And again. And again. And before you know it you WANT to get out of the tub. You want to throw the covers back and get going.
The key is that writing writers write. They don’t necessarily write huge opuses at every sitting. They don’t necessarily write wonderful prose or winning dialogue. Words on the page count. Trust me, no one is watching. And frankly, nobody cares. They’re just wondering when you’re going to come out of the bathroom. So stick your hand out and do it. Write.