For any of you who may be carrying tomatoes, I beseech you, please keep them tucked wherever they are for this next paragraph may incite you to launch.
Ah, the old adage “writers write.” Uck! Never liked it, never will. It feels to me, a bit stiff. I remember first hearing the phrase from an executive at a prominent television station. Names of course have been sequestered purposely. When he asked me my writing schedule, I froze. Huh? I primarily just write when I feel inspired-dun dun dun! (duck behind the podium) before I could get another word out, he had already thumped me on the knoggin’ with the "WW" phrase. Despite the fact that I had picked up the nicesty habit in third grade, I left his office thinking, maybe I'm not a writer.
Something about the phrase feels too final, like all writers are doing the same thing at the same time and that if you don’t have a 9 to 5 approach to the matter, you’re doomed. Images of writers frantically typing nonsense they’re forcing out of their poor tapped out imaginations came to mind, beads of sweat pouring down foreheads and landing into half empty coffee cups swept through my vision, and the pendulum of doubt swung its way into my life as I replayed his condemnation.
Well, anyway I’ve seen the phrase a zillion times since then and I’ve finally stopped rolling my eyes and decided to get to the guts of why I’m so utterly discontented with the phrase.
Writers live! That’s what we do. We observe, listen, feel with all five senses (plus the sixth one that is our secret weapon-aren’t we a lucky bunch) and then, after taking in a scene from the super market, hearing a catch phrase that aunt Sally or Uncle Biltmore threw out during Christmas dinner, listening to our own still, sweet, voice floating up and out of our heart, then…we write.
I’m not saying that having a schedule is bad. After all, being consistent helps things move forward, but we can write the same amount in one inspired moment than we can write in one week of pounding our head against an idea that won’t budge.
So sure writers write and dancers dance and singers sing and doers do what they do, but beyond all the doing, there is also a grace in just being and allowing the very thing you’ve been grasping at to glide gently up behind you and tap you on your shoulder.
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