Bleeding Out Words

bleeding heart

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Writing is hard work.  That’s a new thought the world has never heard before, I know.  Better writers than I have known that, but it’s been a long time coming for me.  Writing fiction was always so easy for me.  I can create a story out of nothing, and it’s a good story.  When I was a kid I wrote grade levels ahead of where I was at.

I’ve sailed through the past years wondering why I felt compelled to write but couldn’t seem to sit down to write.  There’s always a story in my mind, the seed of something great.  Why couldn’t I just get it down on paper?  Often I write my ideas down in my little journal/notebook so I don’t forget them, for the elusive some-day when I will write my masterpiece.  Those great ideas look so little and pathetic once they’re down on paper, though, and I abandon them pretty quickly once I see them in my mediocre script.

Last month the brick wall in the way of my creativity finally revealed itself for what it was: laziness. Or sloth.  Maybe acedia?  I just don’t want to do the hard work it takes to birth a written piece, to find the perseverance to produce something.  The timid part of me has held back because I’m afraid that I won’t write something worth reading, that I won’t be the next Madeline L’Engle or J.R.R. Tolkien.  What a relief when I figured out that I was just being lazy and self-seeking.  Now I’m excited to write (and read too).  I just tell myself that it’s a job I have to do, like brushing my teeth. I don’t need to worry about the quality right now because I can always improve that later.

Hemingway knew that writing is difficult work.  Plath knew that self-doubt is crippling.  Guess I just needed the equivalent of a literary leech.

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3 thoughts on “Bleeding Out Words

  1. Oh yeah. I’m constantly judging my writing and ideas and find they come up wanting. Sometimes I think this blog is me forcing myself to go outside my insecurities. I’m always thinking about quitting this blog. 🙂 I think I’m going to have to find that book and read it myself. I particularly like the idea of not judging an idea until it’s finished.

    • I’m always thinking of quitting my blog too! I JUST went through a huge period of uncertainty where I almost told my brother I quit. I would highly recommend the book -many nuggets of wisdom in there along with lots of cool space stories.

  2. I resonate with what you are saying! I also feel so stunted in my writing. This is an idea which I’ve been mulling over recently: in Chris Hadfield’s book he talks of conversing with Neil Young about song writing. Young says he is careful not to judge a song until it’s finished “so that it doesn’t get poisoned or stunted.” I feel I am constantly judging my ideas before they are even written. Do you feel this way too?

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