March 9, 2010

Teapot City

I started this blog for myself, but what has come out of it are comments and observations from fellow writers about the struggle to write. About the feeling of loneliness, despair, confusion… yes, I would say those feelings come up often. But I would also say that it’s very easy to fall prey to those feelings and not focus on the larger task at hand: the act of writing.

I met with a dear friend the other day who has decided to take the plunge and rewrite a short story she has kept under wraps for many years. But she was quickly hit by a barrage of mixed emotions: Am I doing the right thing? How will I know when it’s good enough? How do I know when to stop? What if I don’t make any money on this? Will I make any money on this? Am I wasting my time? Do I really need feedback… shouldn’t an artist express himself/herself as he/she sees fit?

Tough questions, yes. Answers? I would say “Focus on the writing.” Do not let your mind wander down other nooks and crannies because, in my experience, they lead nowhere. As I was told by Ellen Sandler, the author of The TV Writer’s Workbook, “Your job is to write.”

This simple sentence sums up very clearly what I am supposed to be focusing on. It quickly sweeps away all the other “noise” in my head. I cannot show anything to anybody, I cannot win any competitions, I cannot sign any “deals,” I cannot interest anyone in anything until I have something to offer them. In other words, I must write. That is the first step.

So, fellow scribes, if any of you out in there in cyberspace stumble across my humble blog, don’t fret about the big picture — write about it. Then, maybe there will actually be a big picture… in more ways than one.


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