Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What do I Write when I don’t want to Write?

There are times when writing is cathartic for me. (dictionary.com: the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art as tragedy or music.)

There are times when writing is fun for me. (dictionary.com: something that provides mirth or amusement; enjoyment or playfulness)

There are times when writing is a pain for me. (dictionary.com: a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body; mental or emotional suffering or torment; laborious or careful effort; assiduous care)

There are times when words just gush out of me. (dictionary.com: to flow or issue suddenly, copiously, or forcibly, as a fluid from confinement; to have a sudden, copious flow of blood or tears; to emit suddenly, forcibly, or copiously)

There are times when words just trickle out of me. (dictionary.com: to flow or fall by drops, or in a small amount; to come and go or pass bit by bit, slowly, irregularly)

I read a lot and listen to a lot of college level classes on CD while driving around. It is rare that you will find me without my Kindle and my note cards or sticky notes. I am probably the only person you know who keeps sticky notes and highlighter pens within easy reach in the bathroom. I have plenty of books on philosophy marked up, 4x6 cards with ideas from classes I’ve taken or things I’ve heard and want to remember. Usually when I sit down to write a column I go through these cards or marked up books and find something that hits me; something that compels me to write (dictionary.com: to force or drive, especially to a course of action; to overpower; to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence.)

But what do I do when I don’t want to write? What do I do when I just don’t feel like it? What do I do when none of my notes, highlights or printouts inspires me. (dictionary.com: to produce or arouse a feeling or thought; to fill or affect with a specified feeling; to influence or impel; to guide or control by divine influence; to give rise to, bring about, or cause.)

I have read books on writing and how professional writers treat writing as a profession. You set a time, you sit down, you put your fingers on the keyboard, and you WRITE. It has nothing to do with feeling like it or wanting to. It is your job, you don’t work at a factory only when you FEEL like it, so don’t treat your writing like a pastime, treat it like a job. BE a professional. (dictionary.com: following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain; following as a business an occupation ordinarily engaged in as a pastime; expert.)

So, I guess I just don’t know what to do when I don’t want to write and I sure don’t feel like writing today. Any suggestions?

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