Or at least, excuses for not writing are a comforting tale we tell ourselves. I’m not a big believer in writer’s block to begin with, but I am a believer in avoiding things that make me uncomfortable. One of the most discomforting feelings I have is that my writing won’t be good enough.
Procrastination comes naturally to me, but not writing is different. Writing gives me more than anything else in my life takes. So even on days that I might not do anything else, I write.
What makes it onto the page might not be anything I’d keep, but it’s better than nothing. The mess I write on my worst day can be re-shaped, molded, or discarded entirely for better words later. Let me share a secret, writing everyday makes my writing better, and reduces the mess I might clean up later.
So why do so many writers feel blocked? If so many authors experience it, writer’s block must be real, right? I may be in the minority here, but I don’t buy it. Here’s why: We can always write. Like I said earlier it may not be great, but words will flow onto the page (even if you have so many ideas you might explode).
Maybe the issue isn’t a lack of writing, but the fear creeping into our words that what we’re writing isn’t good enough. That can lead to imposter syndrome, or walking away from an unpleasant, even heartbreaking lie. Giving up is far worse than procrastination, dreams die on the vine from not trying.
I’m not suggesting you fake it till you make it either. Just banging out drivel all day every day won’t help you improve. Writing requires the full use of my brain, outlandish creative impulses and rule based problem solving. You have to work your mind, just like you have to build muscle. Writing well takes effort, whether that effort is unpleasant or not is up to each of us.
The process is ugly, I don’t work out at gym for that very reason. But my stories deserve to live in other minds, to be seen by other eyes. You can keep your writing process private, but sooner or later, you have to let your children out into the world. That can be scarier than any amount of writing in solitude.
Like the old Klingon Proverb says: “Fortune favors the bold.”