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.