…The Eternal Struggle between Creative Aspirations and the Real World.
Each day I get up, and instead of greeting the dust motes on the brackish light beams that trudge through my “black-out” curtains, I curse. I then try to not look at my ever-expanding yuck-body in the mirror as I put on the clothes laid out the night before (time saver). Bathroom shenanigans ensue, and then it’s off to the kitchen, where the lackluster breakfast I prepared the night before (another time saver) sits in the fridge.
Eat—dental hygiene—toilet time, then an hour commute to a job that doesn’t have “Professional Writer” or “Fun-Time Author Man” in the title.
Another day of a routine I didn’t design…
“Maybe today I’ll write something,” I think as I drive. “No, I WILL write something!” The mountains shrink into farmland and I’m almost at work. Music of various genres fills my car, my head, and my ever-emptying travel mug—conjuring images and scenarios. Oh, yes…there will be writing!
Then there isn’t.
The break between my split shift should be perfect for writing. But instead of going on a caffeine-fueled pen bender (pender?), I’m looking at a blank page or flashing cursor. Where did all that stuff I thought about in the car go? Hello? Anybody there? *sound of wind blowing dried leaves through a ghost town*
They say “a writer writes,” but what about those of us who can’t seem to get the ink flowing? Is a doctor still a doctor if they don’t doct? The plaque on their office wall says so. I suppose that’s not a fair comparison, now that I think about it. Doctors have skills that make them doctors with or without patients. Or borders. Or pants.
What about writers, though? Just about everyone can write in some fashion, so the ability isn’t what qualifies the title, is it? Would output be the qualifier then? Books, blogs, articles, reviews, stacks of musings, hate mail; these would be what make a writer a writer…right? So, what about we who toil day in and out at Job X, in hope that we hit it big before we burn out? Or better yet, the folks who have published works out in the ether, but can’t seem to keep that sales momentum going, and consequently succumb to the crushing weight of “well, shit…”?
None of this is rhetorical, by the way.
“Writers need discipline,” I’ve also heard. Like anything, practice makes less crappy. And without that output, are you a writer? I’ve been told about a guy who locked himself in a closet for 2 hours a day in order to write. Whether the output was 200 pages or 2 ½ words, brother was trapped in the closet.
Bully for him, really. But me? I have to get my ass to work. I’m not a working writer, but a writer who works. It’s hard out there. It’s hard in my brain. There are more times than I care to admit where I think about trying to make art for money as opposed to art for the overwhelming need to create.
(Not that I would consider what I write art, but you get me)
So-and-so wasn’t discovered until they were X years old. Somesuch wrote 50 books before their seminal work, Gonad Jamboree, became a sensation. Archibald Von Shornscrote was an insanely popular author….100 years post mortem.
Then we have our 50 Shades…
Where do we fall in that gamut? Are we even on it? Does that even matter? It shouldn’t, but it totally does.
We put ourselves under a lot of pressure. Pressure blocks up the creative flow. Creative blockage creates feelings of bloating and inadequacy, which leads to more pressure.
And drinking…let’s not forget the drinking.
Early morning thoughts of “here we go again…” lead invariably to late night “should have done better…”
Am I missing something? I feel like I’m missing something. There are folks who crank out the words, pictures, music, whatever their muse milks from their creation-udders…and I wonder what they do different. What they probably do that I can’t seem to manage, is face the bullshit that goes on in their heads, and power through. They’re making art while I’m making excuses.
This isn’t a woe-is-me post, believe it or not. Maybe a little. But mostly, I guess I’m trying to reach out to other creative-types that are trying to make something of themselves despite the opposing currents of being a productive drone-er-MEMBER of society. Any tips? Tricks? Recipes? What gets you through the day—or even more diabolical—the night?
I suppose this blog post would be considered “output,” so, yay! Writer!