Thursday, June 14, 2007

More About Writing



Loving this book by Boice. Between he and Anne Lamott, I actually wrote yesterday (and it wasn't bad) and I am ready to write more today.

More from Boice,

[There are] two common ways of motivating ourselves to write, waiting and then working under deadlines, [which] speak volumes about writing problems. The first way, waiting for inspiration and mood, symptomizes the most innocent understanding about finding motivation: the belief that good writing must be spontaneous. And so writers wait, passively, for the inspiration that would suddenly make them want to write. The most common result of passive waiting is barrenness. Tillie Olsen, author of Silences, provides an unusually memorable description of waiting and not writing:

“These are not natural silences—what Keats called agonie ennuyeuse (the tedious agony)—that necessary time for renewal, lying fallow, gestation, in the cycle of creation. The silences I speak of here are unnatural: the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being, but cannot. In the old, the obvious parallels: when the seed strikes stone; the soil will not sustain; the spring is false; the time is drought or blight or infestation; the frost comes premature."

Olsen also hints at origins. What begins as a natural silence often becomes an unnatural silence because passive waiting invites blocking. The longer we wait without readying and motivating ourselves, the greater the tendency to lose ideas, momentum, and confidence. And as unfruitful delays grow, so does dependence on tense, impatient, and unrealiable spurts of motivation that foster eventual barrenness and disappointment.


Doesn't that feel horribly familiar? The waiting and passive sitting as you think about the huge process of writing or think you have "to be ready" to write.

Boice's rule #2: Begin before feeling fully ready or inspired (because motivation comes most reliably in the wake of involvement).

I am so at rule #2.

Keep writing.

1 comment:

Carole said...

Hi. I'm using your quotes in my post. I hope that's okay. Came across you're site via Mt. Hope Academy. Happy writing!