“Writing is not a career, it’s a disease. It’s something that you’re going to be doing whether you’re lucky enough to be paid for it or not. So if you have that disease–and you know if you do–if you have that disease, you don’t have to listen to people who tell you no.”*
– Dara Horn
It’s a strange sort of disease. The only way to prevent it from hurting you is to embrace it, become complicit in its process, and let it do its worst. If you ignore it, deny it, or worse if you try to treat it, then you suffer.
I haven’t been writing much lately and it doesn’t feel good. It’s because of the holidays, and short days full of busyness and long nights full of sleepiness, and because it feels like Inspiration is keeping her distance. I know she’s out there, crouching in the scrub brush on the bluffs or leaning against a trunk among the avocado trees, watching me. I need her to come here, into the lights and warmth of my comfort zone, but she doesn’t care. Inspiration has all the time in the world and couldn’t care less if my time runs out before I write another word.
Figments of our imagination don’t work for us, we work for them. Inspiration shows up when we’re working. And if we don’t want to do the job, they’ll find somebody else.
I have heard it from hundreds of writers and teachers, all of my adult life, and our college poetry professor also told us this: If you want to write, read a lot. And write every day.
Every day. Nobody ever says frequently, or almost every day. They always say every day. So here’s my one and only New Years resolution: Every day, read, write, pray. I believe if I can do this, I’ll be happier and clearer-headed. And other things I ought to accomplish will more readily fall into place.
If you have something that works for you, or that you plan to try, please leave a comment.
Happy New Year!
* I heard Dara Horn say this in the Writers on Writing podcast from KUCI. Here’s a shortlink: http://goo.gl/bsGfP1