Concrete Blocks

“I once knew a writer who tried that route (psychoanalysis). Cured him of writing all right. But did not cure him of the need to write. The last I saw of him he was crouching in a comer, trembling. That was his good phase. But the mere sight of a wordprocessor would throw him into a fit.” – Heinlein, ‘The Cat Who Walks Through Walls’

A dear friend of mine described the need to write as “a concrete block on [her] chest”. It took time away from chores and duties to write, but every day she didn’t write, another block was added until finally, under threat of her metaphorical rib cage collapsing, she threw the blocks off and wrote. I can’t think of a better metaphor for this.

We (that is, writers) ideally should write every day. A little or a lot, some writing should happen. And I’m not just talking about stuff like this blog post either. My wife has pointed out on multiple occasions, in the same tone of voice she uses to remind me to deal with the utilities, that writing a blog post actually takes time away from writing things that might actually end up paying me money. Not that the blog doesn’t make money, it just doesn’t make very much.

Speaking of which, have you clicked a blog’s ad today? It makes you and the blog feel good.

…That metaphor is going somewhere dirty.

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make is that writers need to write. Just like programmers need to program, drivers need to drive and plumbers need to plumb. It isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are. It’d be easy to succumb to letting ourselves be defined by day jobs or pending bill payments or anything else the mundane world likes to throw at us. I’m not trying to say that writing is anything supernatural, though. Writing itself is pretty mundane. Writing anything more than a few hundred words can get just as tedious as any other task if you can’t quite get into your groove.

Getting into one’s groove, however, is something that bears discussing. Probably in another post.