On writing and the need to do the dishes and change the diapers

You the writer, probably became a writer because of certain things in the air around you, and if you are not a writer perhaps  you have, at some point in your life have taken inspiration from the ids, philosophies, and vibrations present in your everyday life. You feel them, I know you feel them, the question is where and how to use them in your writing, and to do in a way that honors the wonder with which you first felt these sensations.

A story, or even an idea can be found hanging on the end of a leaf, or it could be a thin hair tucked at the back of your tongue that won’t be spit out. That we can’t understand how or why certain things reveal themselves to us only makes the challenge of getting them down even greater. But in order to get to that point, we have to be open to it. When we first write, the first thing we discover is just how many rules there are in this mad cap game of writing, and all of these rules can make the whole bother of inspiration all the more troubling.

You the writer need to fold the laundry, you have to cook the meals, change the diapers. You need to think about the decisions that need to be made, and these can’t be rushed

And after awhile you discover that you can more or less do what you want, that it’s the craft of writing that’s the important part, that the rules lie in convention, how sturdy the frame your story is contained in. This idea you have, this want inside of you to make it something new, and not have it ring false, is a force you must respect, must have patience for so it can ring out of you clear as a bell. Some will say to obliterate all clichés in your writing, but if we don’t sometimes use cliché as a way to open up the footholds the reader has to reality and use them as a stepping stone, what would we have left but a mess of intangibles, a void made more abstract by opaque language?

You spend time away from a story, from the day to day kick in the ass struggle to even get up off the ground from the previous day’s writing, and though it might seem at the time dangerous to spend a little time away from the story, while you are away the good stuff in your mind floats up to the surface, so nothing is lost. This goes for ideas, dialogue, a well executed line, all of this is embedded in fabric of the idea itself, It’s the mental work that will uncover it. What’s taken time for me is to figure out is that it never has to go away, if it means anything to the creator.

The time spent away from a project is just as important as the time spent in a project. You the writer can write yourself into a corner, in the name of writing everyday. You the writer need to fold the laundry, you have to cook the meals, change the diapers. You need to think about the decisions that need to be made, and these can’t be rushed.

There is meaning in everything and sometimes we don’t know why we write what we write, we can’t see the big picture in the small moments of our stories. So sometimes by folding the laundry, doing the dishes, we come to know why what we write makes sense. And if you never pause to look at how it works in the grand scheme of things, then you the writer are doing all the thinking for the reader, because you are too much in both worlds.


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