1.29.2007

i wish i were a word factory

here's a worthy read:

"there are few experiences as depressing as that anxious barren state known as writer's block, where you sit staring at your blank page like a cadaver, feeling your mind congeal, feeling your talent run down your leg and into your sock. or you look at the notes you've scribbled recently on yellow legal pads or index cards, and they look like something richard speck jotted down the other night. and at the same time, as it turns out, you happen to know that your closest writing friend is on a roll, has been turning out stories and screenplays and children's books and even most of a novel like he or she is some crazy pot-holder factory, pot holders pouring out the windows because there is simply not enough room inside for such glorious productivity" (from anne lamott's Bird by Bird).

anne lamott is a writer that can make me laugh and cry between commas. she's full of depth and honesty, and has this amazing capability to make readers smile loudly in libraries. much of her writing is dark humor, like Traveling Mercies (it took me much longer to read than Bird By Bird, just from the volume of emotions it sapped.) she also has a strong sense of the spiritual. i'm not completely convinced what religion her category fits into, but that's really not the point.

she's right, of course--about the writing. just like everything else, it can suffer the jealousy factor. since it's a very competitive field, the success of people around us can often get in the way of our own concentration. i hate to admit it, but sometimes i can't read published books or articles without feeling some kind of envy, or self-criticism. why aren't i published like that yet? why can't i be disciplined enough to get my name out there?

then of course i get trampled on with thoughts about the flaky, frivilous Christian publishing world. i start to mourn the decline of quality in our literature. i think to myself, how sad that publishing houses, especially Christian publishing houses, are making many shallow, market-directed decisions based on what we tell them we need. (never mind the fact that they put them out there because WE tell them what we like.)

STILL, despite the state of the publishing world, and despite the agile typing of our friends, there's no reason for writers to feel depressed or hopeless or disappointed when we don't see visible fruit. these are reasons to keep writing. keep disciplined. keep trudging through the marshmallowy marshes (props to dane cook) of rejections. it's a reason to set our own goals and remember that ultimately, we write for Him. he'll set our course as long as we keep our hand to the page.

that's how i get rid of this envious writer's block of mine.

3 comments:

joanna said...

i'm glad you are not a word factory my friend... producing vast amounts of cookie-cutter theologies to tickle the senses of the so-easily-tickled masses.

no... i am glad that you have to knead the dough yourself, crafting and shaping each word into something that is inspired and yet all your own.

i could say that i wish your words flowed easily off of that conveyor belt onto paper, but i'd be lying.

i love the earthy fragrance of the freshly baked wisdom of you... kneaded together with His tender truth and fierce love... and seasoned with your passion, joy, and tears.

Amy said...

what tears? :)

joanna said...

the holy ones :)