Apr. 7th, 2011

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Sometimes books just come to you. They appear in dreams, perhaps. Or scraps of conversations, a handful of images. You sit down to write and the words are there, as if they were waiting for you. Slick and sweet, they throw themselves before you on to the page. You think there are few things in life better than this quiet exultation of sentences, and you get to do it all day long.

Other times, books are a lot harder to pin down. You know what you want to write, or you think that you do, but somehow the words don't work when you reach for them. They are all angles; too small or too fat, oozing here and there instead of crisply taking their places, and failing, entirely, to do what you ask of them. You think about character. About conflict. About motivation and story. You think and think and think. When asked you may claim that you are engaged in the crucial pre-writing phase, where Things Are Coming Together Beneath The Surface, but you have access to your own thoughts and you have grave doubts about this claim.

You remind yourself that you have done this before. That you, in fact, teach classes and give workshops in which you have smiled rakishly (you are always a bit rakish in your own memory--loveably rakish, of course) and claimed that you combatted writer's block with a quick glance at your bank account. Which you can now do online, hooray! You stare at your pretty little bookshelf, upon which you have arranged all of your published books. They look so lovely there--like a whole career. (One, you worry, that has possibly ended without your knowledge.) Be strong, you tell yourself, you really have done this before. Nineteen times, in point of fact, and yet here you are. Wordless and all-too-aware that you have two books due by the end of July.

And anyway, you tell yourself, it's not writer's block if you haven't even started yet, is it? There could be a DELUGE waiting just as soon as you type that first word, as if the first word is a dam and the book is lurking just beyond it, getting ready to flood right through...

Here's hoping.

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megancrane

April 2011

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