Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fuck Writer's Block


I should be working on something else but I feel compelled to post a blog, mainly so I can push Bruce down, get him out of my face. With each word, he goes down.

Yeah, you like that Bruce. Don't you?

I have to disagree with your assessment of blog-writing. Actually, I don't even really understand the whole real writing vs. everything else battle. What makes blog writing un-real?

Of course, you might feel blog-writing is un-real because you don't edit blogs as you do your more serious work. Editing, most writers will say, is real writing. And editing, after all, was the notion that launched this blog--the seventh draft. I remember reading a letter from my uncle Deano:

"You should be glad Neal didn't hear you say 'I felt the need to go back and re-write the novel I am working on.' Right now she is finishing hers which means working through a SEVENTH substantial re-write, some parts re-written more than that. It's not my field but doesn't just writing a novel from beginning to end seem a bit naive? Writing IS revision. Do the work."

Do the work.

I understand this and live this, not just because my uncle, my mentor, told it to me. I understand it because I feel it--I feel this desperate need to go back, to re-work. I'm not sure whether this just isn't something in my psyche trying to show itself to me or whether it's just a weird manic behavior. Perhaps I indulge my urge to re-write because I can't figure out any other way to spend my time. But more likely, I own weird constellations, urging expression.

Whatever, it makes sense. When I re-write, I roll up my sleeves, get into the nitty-gritty, and I start figuring things out. Working on a sentence, to me, is like working on a specific weirdo meme in my body--when it's figured out, the meme is actualized and I move on to the next weirdo meme. This is everything to me. This is why I quite literally need to write.

To me though, it's all work, good life-giving work. The writing, the re-writing.

Sometimes I'll spend an hour re-working a paragraph and then, suddenly, I'll realize I've just recovered from my parent's divorce.

Sometimes I'll write a sentence out of the blue and realize I've just pardoned myself for bad behavior.

Sometimes nothing.

And, of course, you work through the nothing to get to something. The problem is, you can't sustain inspiration, you can only court it. And here's the thing: it happens WHILE you work, it's not something you wait around for.

Blogs, letters, e-mails--to me, they're part of it, just as important as the "real" work. Your writing life is just that, your life. When you write a blog, it's not like the blog is not you--it is you. I mean do you really look at your writing as something outside your life? You move from one to the other. You write. You figure things out. Without the blogs, you'd be itching to write elsewhere--you'd be sending mad e-mails; you'd take up letter-writing, you'd deliberately fog your bathroom mirror just so you could finger a few lines on the glass.

Remember my "Season of Triumph" blog? Well, I'm currently writing a short-story called "Season of Triumph." The blog led to the story and now I'm blogging about the story. My last blog, that piece of fiction, that goes into my next packet for school. The other recent blog, the Miranda July blog, well that blog was basically a direct quote of my latest annotation for school.

Writer's block is a bullshit dictum created by THE MAN to hold us down. Fuck writer's block.

Blogs are important. But now I have to go, because I really should be working on something else--my real work.


Tommy said...

Ok, I know, writing is art, and I don't want to use a sports analogy, but I think at some level playing hockey is an art as well. Sort of. I like the idea of grinding it out, rolling up the sleaves and doing drills and relying on dumb repitition to find the language, or something like that. Sometimes, for me, I have to be willing to do the hard work. It's a balance of love and work.

Josh said...

If Tommy's writing is hockey, then mine is a game of curling: dull, repetitive, and enjoyed mostly by Canadians.