The Trials and Tribulations of Writing – A Crappy Metaphor

I once saw a quote from a writer, I think it was Robert Heinlein, who said “I don’t like writing, but I love having written”.

It is not quite that bad for me, but I certainly understand where he’s coming from. Overall, writing is a very satisfying and rewarding thing to do. But sometimes, the actual process is very annoying.

Sometimes you have a phrase or an idea that seems to organize everything. There are times when the words just seem to flow. You start typing, and can barely keep up as the right words and ideas just shoot out, in a manner sometimes elegantly referred to as “diarrhea of the word-processor”.

But then there are the times I guess you would call writer’s constipation. You can feel it in there, a big bulk, getting bigger all the time. You can feel it inside, you know it’s got to come out, but you just can’t get it started. You sit there waiting, starting into space, trying to relax – because you know straining will do no good. Every once and a while you think you got something, a word or to starts to come out, but nope. Just a few word-farts, doing you no good and just stinking up the place.

So you start checking your e-mail frequently, looking for a distraction. Or jump on your blog, hoping that whining about it a bit will act as a mental enema of some kind. You get up, pace around a bit, look in the fridge for nothing at all two or three times, but sooner or later you got to go sit down and stare into space again, at least knowing it will feel great when it finally does come out.

Oh well, as one of my editors once reminded me, “it beats working for a living!” Guess it is time to stop bitching, and go squeeze this turd out ….


  • Larry Hanson says:

    I can honestly say that I have never seen the writing process described like that before. You can always try some street food off one of those carts a couple blocks down toward Mi Comisariato Jr. to get things moving again. Now that I think of that, it would make for a great column, if would try that and report on the results.

    • Jim Santos says:

      I was also thinking your brain is like a pickle jar with a stuck lid, and sometimes you just want to bank it on the corner of the desk until the damn thing opens …

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