You’d like to write but who has the time? Just thinking about what you want to write takes up most of your creative energy and then once you sit down to write all those ideas that were fluttering around in your head like drunk butterflies are now still fluttering around. It’s hard to capture the right one that will serve as a beginning, isn’t it? You can’t just launch a bunch of words and hope they land in a sentence, can you? They certainly will not line up to become a paragraph and even if they did what in the hell would you do with it anyway?
The thing to do is wait until the most right time and have the most right frame of mind and then have the right chair, and maybe a glass of wine nearby, but not too much wine, just the right amount. It has to be perfectly quiet or you can’t write or there has to be some good background music and may dog forbid there be a reality television program on at the time the right times swings around. There are the kids, the spouse, the dishes and the laundry. There is a text conversation to have with your sister over what her dog did today and there’s…
The creative is a lot like sex. If you want sex, and you want sex from someone you know is available, and you know that available person is going to be ready if you can make the effort to provide the readiness, then you’re going to get down and get it done. You, I suspect, are a lot like those guys who lay claim, no pun intended, to being studly, but deep down inside they have performance issues. If you only write when you have everything right then you’re a lot like those who claim to want sex but can’t do it with the lights on or with their socks off.
Good sex and good writing will knock your socks off.
When did it happen to you? When you were a child passion and curiosity appeared out of nowhere and you could get worked up over the sight of a bird in the sky or some different color you had never seen. When you were a teenager the wind could change direction and suddenly the air was filled with pheromones and your heartbeat drummed out a rhythm that could be heard by an interested party five feet away in a hurricane. Once upon a time in your life you would have done anything and everything to get someone’s pants off even if you had to do it in the backseat of a car and you only had thirty minutes before you had to take her home. You remember how it felt to want something that badly?
I’m not here to call you a coward or tell you what you have isn’t enough anymore. It could be you’re like one of those people who would like to run a marathon but you’re built to bench press three hundred pounds instead. Writing isn’t for everyone despite the fact there are a lot of people who know enough about it to put the period in the right place. I humbly submit to you there is a little bit more to the process than just the ability to type sixty words a minute and an idea that there is a difference between effect and affect.
If you can’t string together a simple sentence under the best conditions then when things get iffy you aren’t going to do much better, unless you’re one of those grace under pressure people who have to be twenty minutes late before they can get started. And hell, even the very best hit spots where whatever they write just isn’t right. But the idea that overall, in any given week, you can’t find time to write it better mean you’re on vacation at the beach or in jail or even kidnapped by natives. You do realize there are writers who have written well under those conditions, don’t you? You ought to consider the fact there are ways to get things done even under conditions those with less passion might hesitate to try.
When someone asks me how I came to be a writer I tell them I wrote. There is no other way. There are no secrets, no shortcuts, no tricks of the trade to learn that make it anything than hard work. Editing is even harder. I suck at editing but I am getting better because that is also part of the process that is called writing. It took me a very long time to realize that. Once you learn something you have to work at it to keep from unlearning it. Stay sharp by practice and stay clear by commitment. But this is work, hard work, and you’ll put as much into a thousand word essay as you would bringing your partner to orgasm.
You will, that is, if you care.
You do have to know what you are going to write, kind of, to write. What you see before you was not planned or thought out; I sat down to write and this is what was there. I did know something was there. I was aroused with creativity and like getting together with someone who was just a second ago lying on the bed reading, the contents was spontaneous even if the act itself was not.
I write this during lunch at work. With an office full of people wandering around, shouting at one another, and banging into things, I managed to write because I wanted to write. I needed to write. I wrote because it is what I do rather than eating, shouting or banging into things. I write this for you because there are people who need to know that in less than an hour writing can be done to effect. The affect is has on people who are trying to write are dramatic. Why aren’t you writing? You do have time.