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The Unwriting Time

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dear Writer,

A life is a long time. Even if a person only lives to be twenty, that’s over 7,000 days. Seventy years is over 25,000 days. And a lifetime is a long time, and so many days to write.

You will find elsewhere that I, and many other writers, enjoin those who would become writers to make writing a habit. Write every day. If you can write at the same time everyday, that’s even better. The human brain is fond of habits, and works better if it’s programmed to write at a specific time of day. But, even with all of that, the world will not end if you have a day or a week off from writing. And in the thousands of days that may comprise your writing life, there are many in which you will not write.

It’s another aspect of human nature that our creativity has troughs and peaks. We’ll go along for awhile writing, writing, and writing more. Then, it will dry up like the Midwest in the Dust Bowl years. Maybe, it won’t even feel like a priority for a time. In one three year period, I wrote more than 1,500 poems, plus quite a bit of other content as I worked on books and built Websites. And then, the year after, I might have written ten poems. Perhaps twenty? I went for whole months without inspiration and without a need to write. Writing and other creative arts have ebbs and flows.

Certainly there are techniques for breaking out of writer’s block. I might have even written about some of them in the past. But there will be times in your life where you won’t write. These times can last for years. And then, one day you sit down, and the Muse touches your hand, the words begin to flow like tears, a catharsis that cleans you of all that had accumulated in that unwriting time.

Once you have found that you are a writer, you never stop being one. And you never stop growing as a writer. In the unwriting time, you still grow and become more. Your experiences accumulate. Your understandings of humanity and human nature bloom. When the field lies fallow, the soil becomes richer, and when it is ploughed again, it produces greater harvests.

So, don’t fret over those unwriting times. They may last a day or a thousand days, but you will write again.


The Gnostic Poet

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