Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lying to myself

One of the most frequent lies I have told myself is the following: "I just can't write right now."

Yes, it's a lie. Oh, there are times when I literally can't write, because I am busy with something else that must be done. One can't write while sleeping, or while working, or while studying. But that is not when I tell myself this lie. It is when I am doing nothing that the lie comes.

The lie, of course, is in the word "can't." I am capable of writing whenever I have time and access to writing tools. I do not need 'inspiration' to put fingers to keyboard and create a story. It helps, certainly. Motivates, directs, and pushes. When I have an idea that needs to be written, it comes quickly, and easily.

But when that idea isn't there, it doesn't keep me from putting words on paper, or the screen. All that really keeps me from it is my own apathy, my own lethargy. Whenever I sit there just staring at my screen, wondering what to write, it is one of two scenarios: I want to write, but it is not coming easily; or I thought I wanted to write, but didn't, not really. In the latter scenario, doing something else is the usual response.

In the former ... "I can't write." Such a sham. And yet I have gone months, believing this lie, not writing, looking for 'inspiration,' for that 'spark' that'll fix the block. And then when I finally just buckle down and do it, I wonder what took me so blasted long. And the sneaky thing? I can't tell a real difference in quality between when I was inspired, and when I just did it. And in these cases? I never do find that 'spark,' never get that whisper of muse.

So, me. Stop lying to me. Stop believing the lie.


  1. You are right on, son. I actually have learned the same thing. Sometimes it helps if I have a deadline; somehow the words come when they have to. So I've had to transfer that kind of energy to the days when I don't think I'm inspired, but "should" write. I'll admit that sometimes it comes out a muddle, but often there is at least a core thought that I can develop later. Remember "Bird by Bird," by Anne LaMott? That was her thesis. You are inspiring me to work harder at this myself. "Picking up the pen" so to speak, even if it means facing a blank screen and beginning to type -- sometimes, that's how some of us find out what it is we;re thinking, or imagining, or hearing from the Lord.

  2. Yes, all writers have to make themselves write, even when they aren't inspired, or no one would ever get books written! I am the same as you. I tell myself that I just don't have the energy, or the frame of mind, to write or draw today. I tell myself that pretty much every day that Kai is taking a nap. And so I read instead. I love reading, but I'm not producing anything...