Tuesday, August 12, 2008

These Words

Few things frustrate me as much as starting off with an idea only to see it die after two or three sentences. It doesn’t occur often, thankfully, but on occasion I’ll get up a head of steam… the writing juices are flowing and I’m chomping at the bit (add some procrastination for dramatic effect) and off I go. And then - nothing. I hate deleting completed sentences. Such was just the case. As a matter of fact, ideas have been abundant lately - even for works of fiction, which is not my preferred genre. After resisting, as usual, I finally gave in. I have a little time now with nothing else to do.

Might as well write, right?

Not so fast. Now I have to go back into my memory banks and not only pick out a sufficiently compelling topic, but I also have to re-motivate myself… re-light the fire, as it were. In this case, I chose a subject that has continually irked me for a very long time. As I was speaking with a co-worker regarding my departure from the Placer Herald next week (did I forget to mention? I quit my job to go back to school), the topic came up once again. It has to do with jobs that are historically underpaid and (the former topic of my rant) why. But I couldn’t pull it together. Perhaps it’s too big of a slice to tackle here. Maybe it’s more of a project than a blog post. It could be that at this moment - right here, right now - I am not sufficiently outraged.

But it could be much more. As much as being able to write is a wonderful gift, it is only part of the package. Ability alone never amounts to anything. Motivation and inspiration are also vitally necessary. And (here’s the tricky part)… they all have to happen at the same time. At least this has been my experience. Although it is not unusual to jump-start one component with the application of the others, it always feels like a much heavier burden than when all of the elements occur together naturally. I am always able, often inspired and rarely motivated. Pronounced and profound inspiration will motivate me and, to a lesser extent, overwhelming motivation can inspire, but when the trio is in full-force, the words just write themselves.

This is not an example of that. This is a case of persistent and varied inspiration finally producing some motivation, but in a moment when I am not profoundly inspired. These words are not writing themselves. These words are not coming easily. These are words of desperation. I have to get something out and after watching inspiration come and inspiration go, this is what I am left with - a look inward to see, again, what makes me tick. That should be enough - but it’s not.


Anonymous said...

I have to ask. Is this what "professional" spin writting looks like?
That kind of stuff circles my brain in variety of puffy sleeved dresses. Once again, I am assured, I am not all alone.
Thanks buuuud.

Carli N. Wendell said...

You need to download "Die Vampire Die" from [title of show]. It might not be your cup of tea, but the message is dead-on. I've been listening to it non-stop.

Anonymous said...

You might say these words you've written are not enough, but you've given so much to me whilst I've been reading it.....encouragement, some great humor, a few home truths and the knowledge that I'm not alone in my struggle to write.

I'm glad you quit your job to go back to school.....Good for you! That's brave but I love your determination.
Bella :)

Snaggle Tooth said...

What I like is when there's no intent to begin on a subject that magically present itself after having begun to write about "just anything."
It's much easier to already have a subject with resolution in mind. Going where the writing itself leads can give birth to unexpected directions.
The excercise of "write anything" can lead to inspiration n motovation which were prior lacking.

You're only trading one type of work for another. News writing likely has you used to editing out all extraneous verbage to fit space requirements.
Again you'll be free to add more literery flavor to your musings.

Are grades perhaps more motovating to you than payment?

flleenie said...

So does this mean that you will be writing classic Mr. Althouse again? Or will you be all business and such?