(With much respect to @ruckawriter…)
I wrote this a few years ago, on my (sadly neglected) LiveJournal.
Greg Rucka posted something the other day* and it struck a chord with me. So much so, that I had to copy and paste it and send it to two writer friends. And it hit me just now that I too am afflicted with the same disease.
How it starts for me is really quite backwards since the “flare-ups” occur when I look at a blank piece of paper, especially yellow legal pads. One might call it a fetish, but I prefer to think of it as a symptom. If I sit in front of a computer, I can’t just go; it only happens with paper. I’m in the market for a typewriter just to see if it happens with that too, but yeah…paper. There are at least 5 within reach right now, and I’m seriously twitching. But I had to post this because Greg just might be my patron saint. His words cause me to think about writing in different ways…more so than Robert McKee ever did.
Now to find the right pen with which to deflower that legal pad.*
*yeah, I’m that ritualistic when it comes to these things and I use certain pens…sometimes a different pen for different projects
Unfortunately, Greg’s original post* is lost to the wind (he’s since moved from LiveJournal to his own blog, which you should RSS right now), but I found this nugget of wisdom:
“… it’s always a question of discipline. You know, talent is God given and you can learn every trick in the book, but if you don’t have the discipline to sit down and hone your craft and do it every God damn day, then you’re not going to get anywhere.”
Going back to my original thought, the title of this post is about the allure of the blank page. Part of the impetus for posting these thoughts stem from seeing my friend, Adam Knave, post something similar a while ago. Adam was more into telling how he deals with the blank page, and, to an extent I’m sure, writer’s block. But me? I’m talking about the addiction of writing. The physical pain I feel when I’m unable to write. And this might be a script, a plot, a song, or just an idea…just the idea of having inspiration hit…and not being able to do anything about it. I have never had a drug problem. I will not lie and say that I’ve never tried anything, but I’ve never had a drug problem. I’ve known folks who have, and seeing the physical pain of withdrawal is quite an eye opener. I wont claim to have the shakes or the DT’s or any of those actual physical reactions when I don’t or can’t write, but mentally, emotionally, things like (again, LIKE, not exactly) that happen. For me, for the writer side of me, I get struck with inspiration in some odd places, odd situations, and most of the time, it’s not at my computer during “work hours.”
I love writing. It’s one of the few things I feel that I can control (to a degree) in my life. What I mean is…when I sit down to write, I feel like I’m on a stage and I feel like the audience is waiting for me. There’s a hush, maybe someone clears his throat. A rustling in a chair in the back. I see it all. I see them all. I hear every sound. I wait for that moment…
And the dam breaks.
Yeah, that’s the perfect moment. The perfect situation. I won’t lie; it’s not always like that. Sometimes I’m Led Zepplin; sometimes I’m that guy on the corner with the cymbals on his knees and a dancing monkey. I won’t be so presumptuous to say that it’s always perfect. But the show goes on. I still sit down and I still put the work in.
I want to get better. Of course I do. I want to be an author, not just a writer. I feel like I’m on my way there, but discipline is always a problem when you don’t devote yourself, 100% to the craft. When you have a full time job (like I do) or even a part time job, that’s time away from the page. One day soon, it won’t be like that. One day soon, writing and authoring will be my life. I just want to improve my habits and yet never lose that lust and “sickness” for writing.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is this; remember the Boy Scout motto. Always carry a pen and pad with you. I have two that fit in my back pocket. Always have a pen.
If anyone ever wants to know HOW I write…I probably wont tell you. It’s really embarrassing.
*Greg kind of reposted the idea…basically, he wrote that writing is “an illness.” For more, read this recent blog post on his (and Rick Burchett’s) new webcomic, Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether. And read the comic. It’s the best thing to come along since comics. Yes, I said that.