A few days ago I came across a post by Chuck Wendig that summed up a quandary I’ve been in lately. When I say came across I actually mean read in my Feedly because I follow his blog. But that sounds boringly practical, so instead imagine me wandering aimlessly through the wild grasses of the internet before stumbling over the tree stump of enlightenment.
The post just consisted of the flowchart below…
“Do you write?”
“Oh well, not a writer.”
So that’s that then…
Truth be told it’s a bit of a relief. It means I’m now free to take up knitting, deepen my bread-making skills and finally get The Entertainer down pat on the piano. It will mean more quality time with the children and no more hours of guilt when work and housekeeping get in between me and the blank page. I can read without trying to deconstruct and generally relax.
There’s just one small problem with this picture of content. I spend my days thinking of characters and stories, plots and settings. I can’t stop thinking about these things. I have tried. I have tried to ignore but the characters don’t go away. I don’t sense any great impatience from them, just a weary kind of waiting – we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.
The other thing is that my not-writing is what is preventing me from doing all these other things. I don’t feel I can devote myself to other creative endeavours because I haven’t done my words, I haven’t achieved my daily goal in my main field of interest, so I’m not allowed play in any other areas.
I am the one holding these poor characters in limbo (a rather apt location considering they all seem to be Catholic, though some would definitely go with the doctrine, while others would pine for the days when limbo was a “real” place). They want me to tell their story and I’ll admit I’m reluctant. It leads me into areas I’m not sure I want to deal with.
This is fear talking. Fear of speaking out, of saying things that will upset someone, of being honest. It kills a writer dead. But I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to face the fear and write what needs to be written.
In short I am the cause and the solution.
And I am a writer.