By Peg Brantley, Author at Work, Stumbling Toward Publication
There's a reason why writer's should write every day (and more importantly, work on their current project every day), and that is because it takes a lot more energy to start a stopped train than it takes to get a moving train to go faster.
I'm told that true professionals write when nothing is happening for them. When the well is dry. When the words are jumbled or flat.
Depending on who you believe, either Peter DeVries or William Faulkner said something like, "I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m."
Then there's that quote I've only seen attributed to Jack London: "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
But then there's the philosophy that if a train is stopped, it's unlikely to get in a wreck. No way a stopped train can jump the tracks. Am I right, or am I right?
Why tempt fate? If I leave the story alone right where it is, it's still a good story and there's no chance I'll mess it up.
Fear and Uncertainty are two creatures who are sure to kill creativity. They're twins who live to tell me I can't write and that no one will ever enjoy my stories. I've been on intimate terms with both of them. When my train comes to a stop, these two leap into action, and here's a partial list they hand me of some of the things I can do rather than write:
1. Do some laundry.
2. Clean out the refrigerator/pantry/drawers/closets.
3. Organize recipes.
4. Rearrange furniture.
5. Change my nail polish.
6. Fill the bird feeders.
7. Play Free Cell or Spider.
8. Watch LMN. Or HGTV.
9. Make a grocery list.
10. Clean something.
Blah, blah, blah.
But in the end, I'm a writer and I need to write. Somehow I'm reminded that Fear and Uncertainty are imposters and I give them both the boot. A possible train wreck is a whole lot better than rusting on my tracks.
What finally works for me is to just dive in. After a while, the words begin to flow easier and they go from flat to round and oval and all different kinds of shapes and colors. Pretty soon I notice the landscape flying past and I settle in to a very cool rockin' rhythm.