I making a commitment to myself. Each day for one hour I will write. I will just write to get words out of my head. Sarah Waters says,
" Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Lots of writers get a bit OCD-ish about this. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words a day. Jean Plaidy managed 5,000 before lunch, then spent the afternoon answering fan mail. My minimum is 1,000 words a day – which is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like shitting a brick, but I will make myself stay at my desk until I've got there, because I know that by doing that I am inching the book forward. Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish – they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better."
She's so right! It may be bad writing. Some days it might be terrible writing, but the purpose is just to write. I've been reading about writers and their lives and I remember how dedicated and disciplined I used to be about writing. I want to be there again.
PD James said,
"Don't just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style." Yes, I am so guilty of this.
Dreaming of writing, writing down in my list book that I need to write and then never doing it. We are our own worst critique. A little voice in my head keeps saying, " Oh no, you shouldn't do this, you can't write, leave it to the professionals, blah, blah, blah!" But I will resist the urge to listen to that little teeny, weeny, insecure, puny voice and I will stand up tall and proud and I will write, damn it!
"Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way -- although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do."
This is a quote from Kurt Vonnegut. Yes, my next problem is the choice of a topic. There are just so many topics to chose from. Where does one start or stop? I can never just stick with one topic, it seems to morph into something else and then I end up with a blob of writing.
Jennifer Egan said,
"[Be] willing to write really badly. It won't hurt you to do that. I think there is this fear of writing badly, something primal about it, like: "This bad stuff is coming out of me…" Forget it! Let it float away and the good stuff follows. For me, the bad beginning is just something to build on. It's no big deal. You have to give yourself permission to do that because you can't expect to write regularly and always write well. That's when people get into the habit of waiting for the good moments, and that is where I think writer's block comes from. Like: It's not happening. Well, maybe good writing isn't happening, but let some bad writing happen... When I was writing "The Keep," my writing was so terrible. It was God-awful. My working title for that first draft was, A Short Bad Novel. I thought: "How can I disappoint?""
So this is it. If good writers feel this way on any given day, than I can do this too. I will be disciplined, I will be dedicated, and I will be bad! But I will get better and I will unleash the little devil sitting on my shoulder telling me I can't write. Be off with you!! Scat! Shoo!!!