I finally realized halfway through the post that I could be writing instead of complaining about writing. So I stopped. And I wrote. Two whole pages, motherfucker! Handwritten, and I write small, and I didn't count but I'm guessing there is 1000 words in there. Not a ton, but something. I'm posting it anyway, untouched from how I left it yesterday, because I need to learn something important here. You can be absolutely, completely paralyzed by fear, but you need to know that NOTHING is going to change if you're not brave enough to act. What's the worst that can happen? I write some bad shit? WHO CARES. Tomorrow then, I will not write those same bad words. I will write different, and most likely better, words. You are not a doctor performing life-saving surgery on a little girl with a paperclip and some bubblegum while being shot at on the back of a moving lorrie. No one will die when you put pen to paper. So just do it, and realise that this fear is probably never going to change, but that you have to do it anyway.
And a side note, I'm pretty sure Chuck Wendig is hacking into my Blogger and reading my drafts. Not really. I'm sure he doesn't give a shit. But can you believe this is the article he wrote yesterday? I saw it just now. Imagine that. NOW GO FUCKING WRITE.
It is the use of increasingly sophisticated tools that separates man from beast. From Kristin Cashore's blog, good for a chuckle. =]
I'm reminded that writing is akin to sticking my hand into a dark hole with something unknown skittering around inside. I take a deep breath, stretch my hand ever closer, but as soon as I get close the monster moves inside and I freak out and yank my hand back and my heart is pumping in my throat and I'm not any closer to getting the prize hidden at the bottom of the hole. And by the way, the prize is required to save the universe, so it's kind of important that I suck it the fuck up and go for it.
…then Tim comes in, takes a look at the dirt and staples all over you, your bloodshot eyes and borderline psychotic grin, puts his finger to his mouth in a thoughtful way and says, “I’m concerned.” And you say, “No, Tim, it’ll all work out—I swear!” And you staple some fertilizer to the floor and laugh.
I don't know why it's so hard for me to put pen to paper. I'm more interested in seeing if I like writing on loose leaf or this notebook or that notebook or with this pen or that one, or should I go back to my laptop? There's always Scrivener or MS Word or even text snippets that I can use, or I can start typing on my phone to have zero excuse of not having a writing implement with me (aside from the fact that I always have a notebook), or I can buy a moleskin because those are KEWL and be a super-hipster-writer. And sit in a coffeeshop and get overcaffeinated.
Do you see how quickly my brain gets ridiculous?
Honestly, there isn't some tool that is going to magically make writing easy. I'm not going to find the miracle purple crayon that will serve as the conduit from my brain to the paper. I have to do the hard work and translate the flashes I have in my brain to something coherent on paper. And you know what, that's hard, and goddamn scary. What if I suck at it? What if someone reads it and laughs? In my head, the story is perfect. World-changing and life-affirming. But what if I am worthless as a writer? What if I can't get other people to understand why the story is important, why it is magical and enthralling and sweet?
See, logically, I know that's bullshit. I know that no matter how awesome I am (obviously, very awesome) the first draft is going to suck. But I don't have to show that to anyone. I can fix it as much as I want, for as long as I want. And the whole point of writing is to tell the story, to whoever will listen. And if no one is listening, to at least get it out of my head and onto paper, and maybe the characters will stop harassing me 24/7. Because seriously, I think about them ALL THE TIME. There is no escape. I'm at work, and I wish I was at home writing. I'm at home, and I'm thinking about how I should suck it up and do some writing.
The only way [the book can be written] is to set the unbook -- the gilt-framed portrait of the book -- right there on the altar and sacrifice it, truly sacrifice it. Only then may the book, the real live flawed finite book, slowly, sentence by carnal sentence, appear.