Every writer knows how scary and intimidating a blank sheet of paper can be, when it’s lying there on the desk, waiting for the right words to stumble out of ones head and get in line to float through the arm and hand and pen and out on the paper. It can be so tempting to put down the pen and wait until the muse comes and kisses you, but guess what. The muse never comes, unless you stay at your desk and put that pen to the paper and start writing. Something, anything, everything.
Most people can lie on the floor without holding on to it, and we can breathe, poop, swallow what is put in our mouths and make sounds. All else we can do are skills. Writing is a skill. You have to practice it to get good at it, just as you have to practice to walk, bike, drive a car or play chess, which means that everybody can do it, if they put their minds to it and work, work, work at it.
The good thing is that as soon as you decide for yourself that writing is your thing and actually start writing, you are a writer, and let nobody tell you something different. Whether you write a poem or a short story or maybe even a novel, you are a writer. As long as you keep writing on a regular basis and keep adding and editing and turning your story, you are a writer. When you stop doing it, you become something else, which means that I have been a on and off writer for almost 40 years.
During all that time there have been quite a few lessons to learn and not all of them were directly related to writing. I clearly remember my first lesson, which stopped me from writing for many years: Everybody is a critic, especially people who never ever read nor write or even open a book. But they all know somebody, who knows someone, who wrote a book back in 1918 and therefor they think that they know all there is to know.
When you’re young and inexperienced it can be devastating to meet someone like that, especially if that someone is a near and dear person. Sometimes it can even be a family member or a friend, who should have our best interests in mind, but who cruelly crushes our dreams in the blink of an eye without ever giving it a second thought. The same people would never blame or make fun of a one year old toddler for not being able to walk and yet, the two situations are quite similar. Both things take practice and a lot of it.
I’ve never really stopped writing, but there have been long times, when I’ve done too little of it.
So the other day I watched the movie Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, where a young woman decides, within a year to prepare every dish in a certain cookbook and to write a blog about it. I loved the movie by the way, and it made me think of a tiny book I bought in New York last year. It’s square shaped from all sides, was written by one Jason Rekulak, published by Running Press and is called THE WRITER’S BLOCK – 786 IDEAS TO JUMP-START YOUR IMAGINATION.
Since I’m really lousy at writing consistently without help, I’ve given myself an assignment: I will use those 786 ideas and write about every single one of them on the blog in just as many days. 786 days, that’s 2 years, 1 month and 26 days, and I hope to learn a lot from it, so please, don’t hold back. If you have a comment, whether it’s about what I’m writing, my language, my grammar; please tell me. I really would appreciate it.
See you tomorrow.