There are too many distractions that keep me from writing. It is easier in a sticky plot conundrum to just get up and do a load of laundry, clean the shower tiles, take a Q-tip to the computer keyboard … anything but write. Sometimes this works and the writing muse comes back … other times I just get a really clean shower and some fresh towels for my efforts.
But what happens when we use those “distractions” as a way to avoid diving into the writing process a little deeper? The social media and TV are calling, certainly. But there is so much noise that sometimes you get used to the noise and not hearing your own voice. That little creative voice that names a character you’ve been struggling with while you are peeling carrots. You have two choices; you can stop peeling carrots and start writing (at least make some notes) or you can cast your full attention to the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ game and hush that little voice. My fear is that if you keep hushing that little voice, when you need it to whisper (or shout) great prose in your ear, it will not come back from beyond the rainbow. It is gone.
Granted I do not think anyone can flip a switch and say, “Okay, I’m ready to write something great right now. I am sitting here … let ‘er rip!” There are more days where you sit there and stare at the blank page, totally uninspired with nothing but a to-do list racing through your head and twenty reasons why now is not a good time to write.
So where is the happy compromise? Can the internet surfing Facebook time suck me make peace with the task master writer me? This is not a unique question. I think even Hemingway thought, “What’s the harm in going out on the boat?” when he got stuck in a writing quagmire. And maybe we have great stories to thank for that time on the boat. (I have noticed that the Muse can come to me when I am speeding down the Interstate at 80 mph and there is no way I can write anything down unless I kill myself and take out five other vehicles. Where was she an hour ago?)
So any time you catch me putzing and doing anything but writing, ask me if I am really blocked or just running away from that little voice, afraid of unleashing the Muse and letting her take over. It is like taking your hands off the steering wheel and expecting a troop of good fairies to get you to the grocery store unharmed. A little scary. A lot of faith.