Writer’s Blockhead

One thing that makes writing hard is feeling obligated to say what you’re saying in a way it hasn’t been said before.  It’s addictively satisfying to arrange words in new strings that aren’t convoluted or obscure, and actually have a shot at resonating with your reader.

And, once you’ve heard all the writing workshop campfire stories about the manuscript-mutilating boogeyman known as “cliche”, who can blame you for cowering in your sleeping bag when you should be exploring the woods?

Well, someone should blame you.  Maybe the person who’s counting on you to get the thing written.  Maybe that person is you.

When I think of the times I’ve caught myself dragging out a project for longer than necessary, most of them have been a result of agonizing over every clause as a mandate to re-invent the wheel. And when I think of the times I actually have come up with something interesting, they’ve been the result of torrential brainstorms–willing the words to pour–not trying to squeeze a single perfect drop out of an almost-dry cloth.

So next time you find yourself beating the delete key into submission, murmuring that line from Kerouac about how worthwhile people never “say a commonplace thing”. . .

Throw it out with the dingledodies and just get to the next line.

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