It’s very easy to get distracted by the business of writing, isn’t it? I’ve spent the past two days pouring over websites with info about grants, fellowships, residencies, awards, and contests, fixating on funding the writing I should be doing instead of fixating on writing. I dream of being able to spend days on end in a writing stupor, just me, my tiny laptop and the occasional cup of coffee. Trying to fit writing into my busy life, or, rather, trying to squeeze out a life around my writing, is a cumbersome and often frustrating exercise.
I attended a WBEZ Off-Air event on Superbowl Sunday featuring a wonderful panel of female writers (Parneshia, Anita, Audrey and Jane: The Creative Process of Writing), who discussed the writing process. Thankfully, they skipped the basics (How do I get published? Where do you get your story ideas? How can I get an agent?) and dove straight into talking about their personal processes. I walked away from the event feeling rejuvenated and validated–these successful, published authors also found it hard to balance writing with other responsibilities. They also struggled with the inherent isolation of the process of writing. They also felt compelled, in some ways obligated, to write.
Hearing their stories helped me feel that (cliché alert) I am not alone. Seems trivial, but it matters. The flip side is just as important: I am also not unique or special in my struggles. Everybody gets writer’s block. Everybody has to fend of distractions. Everybody has to learn how to simply write the work, and worry about the publishing later. So I might as well get over myself, sit down, and get to it.