This is me, thinking out loud about my writing.
There is writing, and then there is Writing. And I am amazed at how often I will shy away from the former because it doesn’t feel like the latter. There are times when I put far too much emphasis on the fine-tuned components of writing, and not nearly enough emphasis on simply getting the words down.
You know the difference I’m talking about. The latter is tangible — it’s the times when the words seem to write themselves. But then there are times when you feel like you’re back in the 2nd grade playing Oregon Trail and it’s all you can do to remember the Home Row. In fact, for me, writing rarely feels like Writing.
I may never be a capital “W” Writer. I may never win a Pulitzer, or write for the New Yorker, or even get pen to paper for what could be the next great American Novel. But I want to shoot for it. I want to be the best. I want my writing to be engaging, clever, and quotable. I want my articles to be insightful and memorable. But that will never happen if I only ever allow myself to write when it feels like Writing.
It’s suicide to stop before I start just because I’m not feeling it. I’ve got to settle the fact that sometimes it’s just plain writing and get over it already. Because wanting to write is not the same as writing.
And thinking about writing is not the same as writing.
Reading about writing is not the same as writing.
Tweeting about writing is not the same as writing.
Having a conversation about writing is not the same as writing.
Some of these help me grow into a better writer, but how often are they really just ways of procrastinating that don’t ever produce something written? If I’m not sitting here writing then I’m not writing.
If I’m not sitting here writing, I’m not writing.
Dorothy C. Fontana said: “You can’t say, I won’t write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer.”
Do I want to be a capital “W” Writer? Yes. Do I want all my writing to feel like Writing? Yes. But I have to be okay with the fact that right now, I’m not and it doesn’t. I’m just a writer and most of the time writing is hard. It may never be otherwise.
But suppose one day I do arrive at some level of skill where the ink flows like honey and the prose like fine wine. I wonder if I’d even realize it. It may very well feel just like it does right now — like today — when it seems as if I can’t even put two words together using copy and paste.