Silk’s Post #127 — Last week, for the first time in our collective effort to blog our way to writerdom, four of the 5writers missed our posts. Ouch.
It’s time for me to step up to the booth and say my confession. Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. It’s been four weeks since my last blog post. I throw myself at your mercy. I’d welcome the chance to clear my conscience by saying 20 Hail Shakespeares. If it were only so easy!
But redemption doesn’t work that way for writers. As much as I cherish that writing flame within, being a devout, practicing writer really requires only one thing. And it requires it absolutely, as an article of faith.
You must write.
Even if it’s shit. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if your life is full of good, or bad, distractions. Even if you question your calling and are struggling to believe in yourself. Even if you’re overcommitted and all your time is spoken for. Even if you’re bored or uninspired. Even if your routine is disrupted. Even if you’re so consumed with guilt about your lack of productivity that you’ve gone into avoidance mode. Even if you’re too stressed, or too sad, or too worried, or too tired to care. Even if you’re consumed by some other seductive passion that demands your attention. Even if you fear your words have left you.
You must write anyway.
Or forget being a writer. Do something else. Find another route to spiritual, emotional, intellectual fulfillment.
Harsh, I know. The truth often is. And we sensitive creative people may wither in its presence. Or do the opposite: rebel, catch fire, grab the beast with two fists, bay at the moon.
Start writing again, just to prove nothing can stop us.
I sat down to write this post without having any clear idea of what I wanted, needed, to say. I just knew I had to explain to myself why I haven’t blogged in a month, or touched my manuscript in far longer than that.
My first stream of thought, unsurprisingly, was the litany of reasons why I’ve put off writing. As I enumerated and examined them in my head, disruptions that had been posing as perfectly good reasons were unmasked, one by one, and revealed to be mere excuses. Just a lot of blah blah blah.
And what I concluded was that none of that matters. The road to hell – to no one’s shock, I’m sure – really is paved with good intentions. No wonder it has so many potholes.
A few years ago at the Surrey International Writers Conference, we were treated to one of the most inspiring keynotes I’ve ever heard by bestselling author Robert Dugoni. It was his own becoming-a-writer story, and he told it like a song – or maybe a hymn – the narrative given power and energy with a repeated chorus: This Day We Write. SIWC has adopted the refrain, with Mr. Dugoni’s blessing, as its own mantra.
As T.S. Eliot famously said, “good writers borrow, great writers steal”, so I have no compunction about appropriating This Day We Write as my blog title. Repeating it, with appropriate devotion, is a penance that can save lapsed writers.
We need these rituals in our passion play.
Being a writer is, in a way, the simplest of jobs. You just write. You learn and develop craft with every word, every sentence, every book. There’s really no other secret to it.
The 5writers’ road to salvation will begin here. We’re planning a writing retreat, hopefully in June. The agenda is as simple as this vow: This Day We Write.