“A writer,” said Mann, “is a person for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” How liberating that definition is. If any of you out there have ever been put off writing it might well be because you found it so insanely hard and therefore, like me, gave up and abandoned your masterworks early, regretfully assuming that you weren’t cut from the right cloth, that it must come more easily to true, natural-born writers. Perhaps you can start again now, in the knowledge that since the whole experience was so grindingly horrible you might be the real thing after all. Emerging into the Light
Well. Thank you, Stephen Fry and Thomas Mann. I'd like to say it consoles me. It doesn't, but I'd like to say it does.
I've been putting off writing. I've been putting it off since about, oh, early May. It's miraculous I somehow have five short stories posted during that period of time. I also have 5000 terrible words of Merlin
fic and 5000 hopefully not terrible words of Psych
fic. But. Every time I go to open up my word documents I find myself staring blankly at them for minutes, then watching another installment of a television show, and then staring blankly at them again. Repeat ad nauseum. It doesn't matter the time of day. It doesn't matter whether I have my handy glass of ribena next to me, or a full stomach, whether I've got paper on my desk scrawled with quotes and modified lines from other people's fiction. It doesn't matter if I wholeheartedly like the idea. If I even have an outline. The little grey cells, they do not work. The little pink fingers, they do not type.
I have forgotten how to write. I have forgotten how to write anything of substance. And perhaps I never had that second skill to begin with, but I used to fool myself into thinking I did, at the very least. Once in a while I would get an idea that would sustain me for more than five hundred words, and then I would actually complete it! It was a time of charm and beauty, when I would be up until four in the morning, or up at seven, tip tip tapping away.
As much as I would like to say that writing is so hard for me because I have some talent, I can't say I really think it's true. Writers write
. They may not always write brilliance, but they do it! Words stream out of writers. Interesting words from an extensive vocabulary. Writers write scenes that show the march of progression in events, relationships, and time. They get to the deep, dark hearts of characters. They create witty lines and evocative description. Perhaps not all at once, and perhaps not all writers have success with all elements, but some
, at least. Some of the time, some of the elements. Writers can interest, involve and engage readers' intellects, emotions and, for wont of a better word, souls.
And I can't do that. Any of that. I try and I fail.