There are countless books on the craft of writing. There are just as many books on the writing lives of experienced writers.
But this writer’s life can be summed up in three words: it’s a struggle.
I’ve been reading some of these books on writing lately, searching for that pearl of wisdom to help me crack the code, show me the easy way, help me get the hang of this writing business. Authors such as Strunck and White, Michael Legat and Stanley Fish on words, grammar and style. Stephen King, Annie Dillard, Carmel Bird and Anne Lamott on what it means to be a writer.
What I’ve found is that although writers have their unique rituals and processes, their individual styles and creative muses, there are two things all of them have in common: they write every day and they read a lot.
Well, I have the second thing down pat — I read a lot. And currently, I am reading even more—when I should be writing—books on writing, writing style, writers on their writing lives as well as trawling the internet for, actually, I’m not sure what.
I’m not an aspiring novelist. An aspiring essayist, maybe. But really, for now, I would just like to be able to write the 500 words, sometimes just 300 words a day, without a struggle. Write the blog post without researching for hours, have confidence in my own words, let my years of experience shine through with an authoritative voice. I would be happy, as Annie Dillard says, to “lay out a line of words”. To lay out those 300 words on the screen.
Yes, my problem is the writing bit.
So, what to do?
Well, for the next little while, now that’s off my chest, I’m going for a walk with my dog. And then . . . I’ll come back to my desk and see if I can coax a few more words onto the screen.
If you have a secret to getting the words onto the paper, or the screen, share it with us!