On writing

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get going.” – unknown

I’m a new writer, by which I mean that I’ve just in the past few years mustered the courage to write my thoughts and put them out in the world. This blog is an example. Short stories that I’m penning are another.

Being a new writer also means I’m fairly indisciplined about writing. For the longest time, I subscribed to the first part of the quote, seeking inspiration to descend on me, and only after this would I feel authentic in what flowed onto paper.

How silly I was. Writing is work, and requires the same doggedness and steady attendance as an actual job or fitness regimen. That’s what countless famous writers have said, it’s what a writer-friend also told me without mincing any words. “Archana,” he said, “it’s foolish to depend on inspiration. You just have to show up and write regularly. It’s a job.”

I struggle with this. Like people trying to stick to a weight loss diet, I fight to stay on track. I am easily swayed by the “I don’t feel like it, no words are coming, I’ll write tomorrow” argument. It is supposed to be fun and fulfilling, after all, not a slog.

I’m slowly realizing that maybe the slog is essential to the whole endeavor. It may just serve the purpose of burning all the junk that’s posing as writing, so the good, real stuff can start flowing out. I listened to a writer, on one of the NPR podcasts, who said he wrote a short story a day for 100 days, and only after that did the good stuff emerge. 100 stories in about 3 months – that floored me. What amazing discipline, how strong his writing muscles must have become, how clear his mind and heart. He talked about clearing out the garbage.

Therefore, I’m going to try to write every day. If only a sentence, let it be so. It will still be one more sentence closer to the real voice that wants to speak out. Along the way, I hope this blog will be interesting for you, dear reader, as you see me emerge from my cocoon. You will bear witness to a writer taking shape.


About Archana

I'm Indian and Canadian, and many other countries in between. I read comics every morning and believe the world could do with slowing down.
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