I’m reading The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes. It’s a book that Jennifer Crusie said was a huge influence for her and I am a ginormous fan of her work. So I’m slowly going through it.
The beginning is all about writing struggles and anxieties. Did you know that EB White had really bad anxieties about his writing? He wrote Charlotte’s Web!
And for writers, if it’s not worrying about publishing, it’s worrying that the critics won’t like the work or if it’ll sell or if people think the book is hack work. Basically, there is always something to be worried about.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Writers are neurotic messes. We all know this, we worry about everything. What I wanted to talk about is the chapter about excuses not to write. There was a section about how if only I had the right pen/paper/computer/electronic device/private place to write/nice coffeehouse, I would be able to write. I found this absolutely hilarious because I have fallen victim to this too.
When I was younger, I completely fell victim to this. I was looking for the best portable device to write with. Found a bunch of PDAs and found the alphasmart, which a lot of writers use. I never bought any if them though. But I sure knew a bunch about it!
I sometimes see this on newsgroups too where someone would inevitably ask what the best writing software was and there would be a dirth of suggestions. Then there would be a few people that would say Word, you don’t need anything else! Which is the truth. You could write a whole manuscript in notepad if you wanted to.
These days, I write on the floor in the living room. I lie down on my stomach and I write in a cheap notebook that I stock up on after the school year starts. They are always on sale for 50% off!
I’ve got a huge selection of pens to write with (due to a quest in finding the perfect pen several years ago). But I mostly use my fountain pens at this point. It is my one writerly splurge.
The point of that chapter is that the difference between those who write and those that don’t is that the non-writers will always have an excuse.
If it’s not writing equipment, it’s time or personal life or I had to wash my hair. It’s always something and that root fear boils down to fear of failure. Because if you don’t try, you can’t fail.
And that’s all the waxing I’m going to do today. Cuz I gotta write a new story now that I’ve sent out all that hasn’t been trunked.
Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal