Monday, June 22, 2009

Writing When You Don’t Really Feel Like It

A recent blog post on the website of my local chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada referred to a handy site that forces you to sit down and write for a selected period of time (10 minutes, 2 hours). If you stop writing, dire consequences result, such as loud, annoying sounds, or, even worse, the word-by-word disappearance of whatever you’ve already written. The point of the site is to get you writing and keep you at it, even when you don’t feel like it.

Welcome to one of the writer’s biggest challenges: self-discipline. Writing when the words aren’t there. Writer’s block. Lack of inspiration. Waiting for the muse. Call it whatever you like.

Consider my sad situation. The sun shines on the dewy green grass outside my window. The birds chirp and sing and hop across the lawn. The gardens bloom. It’s summer, finally. And I’m writing about…


Yes, that winter sport played inside on long stretches of man-made ice. It’s a great sport, but it’s an environment about as far away from the one I’m currently living in as the North Pole. No matter. I have a deadline, a group of people waiting for me to show up with this book project, on time and on budget. Not only that, but they expect the book to express all the joy, excitement and pride they feel in their curling club and the sport they love.

Well, I love curling too, but not on a shiny summer morning that is calling me outside.

The bottom line is that I will stay at my desk and write about curling. I’ll use every trick I can to evoke the sound of rocks sliding down the ice and voices calling the sweep. I’ll turn a blind eye to sunshine and climbing temperatures – and I’ll get the job done. That’s what writers do.

(Photo by Kelly Atkinson)

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