And sometimes the bear gets you.
You know, I’ve always found that expression a bit annoying. Wouldn’t it be: “Sometimes you get the bear. The bear gets you once“?
Be that as it may, the subject right now is writing, in particular getting stuck. Most of the writers I know have had the experience of sitting down to work on a project and it just won’t come. You sit there, staring at the page (screen these days) and the words just don’t want to come. As I said, most writers I know have had the experience and I suspect most of the others just won’t admit it. But I could be wrong.
The term for that is “writer’s block.”
I don’t like that term. For one thing in every other job in the world, there are times when one doesn’t feel motivated, doesn’t feel “inspired,” when the body and mind say “I don’t want to do this.” They don’t get special terms. There’s no “bricklayer’s block” or “engineer’s block” or “corporate CEO’s” block. But writers? Writers get to say “I have writers block” and people nod in sympathy and maybe buy them another beer.
You know. I think that may explain writer’s block.
Seriously, though, there are times when the words come easily, where the story is just there. You sit, your fingers fly over the keyboard, and words appear on the screen. Magic. It’s just about the greatest feeling in the world. (Just about. I can think of one or two others that are better.)
Then there are other times, times when you sit there and write one word. Then you sit there and write another word. Then one more, each word like giving birth to a porcupine . . . breach.
And the thing is, at least in my own writing, there’s no difference I can tell between the results of the “easy” writing and the “squeezed out one agonizing word at a time” writing. They’re just as likely to be good (as in “saleable”) or just as likely to be dreck. Some of my published work is one, some the other.
The interesting thing is, writing for me rarely falls between those two. It’s either one or the other but never, say, a little struggle to find the right words, or anything like that. No, that’s reserved for editing.