It’s been almost a year since I decided to write a book. I’ve lied a lot. No, not in the book, but in telling people I am writing one. To be a writer I know I need to write more. I’m just not good at it.
I feel like every student I’ve ever taught must feel.
I sit to write, and I get distracted. Compulsive, too. My inbox has to be empty. My Twitter feed has to be “read.” My notifications have to be noted. My apps have to be updated.
This is a problem.
I know what all those writers say, giving advice–playing with my psyche. One of the things that fills my news feed is quotes by authors. At one time I thought that was a good idea.
Just this morning:
“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one.” ~William Faulkner
“The discipline of the writer is to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him” ~Rachel Carson
“Teach yourself to work in uncertainty.” ~Bernard Malamud
Oy! I thought if I got writing tips from published writers I’d find some tips for writing more and writing better. Mostly, I just get depressed.
I don’t like uncertainty. Who has time to be still? Is my art teaching or writing? (See that conflict with time?)
I know one thing: I understand my students more. And I haven’t even asked them to write a book. I’ve only tried to get them to care about their writing. Play with words and structure and meaning. Create something that brings a smile because it works for you.
It’s harder than it sounds. I know because I practice it every time I sit to write. And the struggle doesn’t away.
I’m not giving up, but there are days I want to.
Like a week ago when I asked Heather to read my introduction and give me feedback, and she shot me through the heart. Not on purpose–I know that. But sheesh, I was not quite prepared to be so vulnerable.
I imagine much like a student or two who’ve read my purple pen and wondered “What the heck? I bled to write that.”
This morning I got up early to write.
But not a bit in this so called book.
This is a problem.