"And moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul...the soul that dares and defies."
-Kate Chopin, The Awakening

08 February 2011

Portrait of the Writer as a Young Procrastinator...

Okay,  confession time: It's been almost a week since I've sat down to write.  I've hit a wall that is part confusion and part laziness, mixed with the sinus pressure from a head cold and a bad addiction to netflix live-streaming documentaries.

One of my writing teachers used to tell us that we would never be writers unless we wrote every day.  While I had a fundamental problem with her categorization at that point (and still do, to some extent), I know that writing through blocks is the only way to tear them down.  Lately, I've taken to jotting down single lines, questions, or plot ideas instead of tackling the hurdles I have come to in the writing process.  Rather than take on the tough decisions about narrative and perspective, I've stayed in a sort of comfort zone that allows me to be creative without taking any risks.

Yesterday, the line, "I stayed silent amidst the screams around me," came into my head, so I typed it out.  The day before, I edited one of the first lines of the manuscript to read, "It was the summer never to be forgotten or remembered, and we were swimming in the rain."  I wrote the cryptic notes, "Henry: loses his faith b/c he believes the world is cruel, Callie: loses her faith b/c she is afraid of absorbtion/eternity, Thad: gains his faith b/c he does not want to be left alone…Ed looked so alone…he goes on without his family or anyone else…"  These notes are helpful in that they allow me to continue thinking about writing, but the problem is that, lately, I've been stuck in the thinking stages; I'm not bold enough to plunge myself into the sometimes less-rewarding writing stage.  

While ideas remain in form only, they are hopeful.  They could be that single piece I needed to temper the characterization, the one addition that will spur me towards finishing the manuscript.  But, in practice, they could just as easily become destructive.  

It is times like these I remind myself that writing takes patience.  I need to write through my challenging spots, and be excited to fail.  Who knows? Failure may just as well lead to another idea waiting to be unfurled.       

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