Okay okay I’ll begin. I don’t really feel like writing, and haven’t for the past few days. I was doing so well last week, and the week before, writing for two or more hours at a time, multiple days in a row. I suspect this sudden increase in writing has caused my sudden malaise.
I thought I was being measured in the amount of time I was spending at my desk, but it is possible that I let my excitement at writing on a regular basis cause me to take on too much too soon. I have struggled with creating a regular writing practice since I graduated college with a vague idea of becoming an architecture critic. Other than assignments for classes and a sporadic relationship with my journal, I did not write regularly for myself while in school. In the structureless real world, I could not find the motivation to write.
I had a funny idea that writing for pleasure and for work would be easy. That I would be greeted each morning by a magnanimous muse, who would know to meet me wherever I was (which was never at my desk) and that words would flow from my fingertips. When the muse refused to show up on time, or at all, I diagnosed myself with writer’s block and moved on with my day. When this happened for weeks and months at a stretch, I assumed my case was very bad but I remained optimistic that if I thought about writing enough and fantasized about how great it would be to be a writer, the block would clear, and the muse would come, and my dreams would be realized without effort.
Ha. Dreams, I know now, are never realized without effort and muses don’t show up without an invitation. If I am not planted in front of my computer or notebook, ready and starting to write, ideas do not come.
Also, writer’s block probably only comes to people who are actively engaged in the act of writing; for me it was an excuse so I didn’t have to risk finding out that my writing isn’t perfect.
Often, my muse is late, not showing up until I am tired and ready to stop for the day; in fact, arriving after I’ve spent thirty or forty or ninety or more minutes banging away, changing postures, doing dances, crying, swearing, sweating is my muse’s most beloved pastime. She wants me to learn patience.
I am a slow student, though, so sometimes I give up before she has time to wake up and prod me along. I am learning, though, to amuse myself with writing nonsense until she comes.
Learning, too, to trust myself to create away from her inspired gaze.
It is hard work, writing, but I enjoy the process and I enjoy seeing my voice become stronger on the page. I am ready, now, to do the hard work I avoided for so many years. Ready to write with consistency, even if it means writing less each day. My goal, for now, is to spend forty-five minutes five mornings a week at my desk. Even if I write nothing but complaints about how difficult writing is, it will help build the habit.
I can do hard work. I can write. I can learn to make space for my muse.