Birthing the Baby Elephant
Baby Elephant, Take One.
(That reference will come clear a bit later.)
(I just erased about 150 words.)
I woke up this morning knowing that I wanted to write about a certain quote, which I will share in a bit. And when I sat down to do it, my brain very helpfully turned into a humming blank.
I started writing a little about how people don’t necessarily accept the creative fields as legitimate unless we make millions doing it. Then I decided that came off as more ranty than I meant to be. Then my husband brought me a video from Conan of two people getting married who had never kissed before — and we both had a laugh at the extreme awkward. (You can see that rather sad moment here and have a laugh and a shudder for yourself. I am personally very glad my husband and I knew how to kiss on our wedding day.)
So here I am, almost two hundred words in, and I haven’t said anything at all. Shame on me.
I’m here though, writing. Why on earth am I here writing when I don’t know what to write about? (Woohoo! I found my nugget!) I’ll tell you.
It’s because that’s what I do. Even though I have very little time to do much of anything outside of work, I realized yesterday that if I were to stop updating this blog every day, I would be quite sad.
Something happens to me when I don’t write. It’s like the thriving, glowy bit that exists somewhere in my core begins to shrivel up like when you put an aluminum can in a fire. At first you can’t see the difference, but after a bit, the outside starts crumpling inward. The bright colors fade into ashen grays, and the metal begins to collapse in on itself until it’s nothing but an empty, thin shell of rubbish.
This is not to say that my writing all comes from a shiny soda can in my heart, but I believe you get the point.
The part that holds the words reacts in a sort of inverse relationship to that crinkling can. If I don’t write, all those words pour into an inner page. They get jammed on top of one another. They jostle each other. They press down too hard and pebble the backside of the page. Over and over it happens while my can is wrinkling and I’m going about “normal” life. Those word pile up until they cannot be contained anymore. It’s like the more of them that fill that page, the more they transmogrify it into a pulsing, breathing being that flexes its muscles as the millions of built up words in varying degrees of pen and pencil scroll across its skin — until it erupts out of me.
I’m supposed to write every day, you see. I could show you a shelf of journals I kept over the years. It was long ago I realized that I had to write. I needed to write. Those words needed to come out before I collapsed in on myself or exploded or did both at once.
That’s where Mr. David Eddings comes in. Because he said it so well, I’m not going to paraphrase his perfect words. I’m going to offer them to you with a scarlet ribbon trailing down the side of a white package, a package that holds a slight shimmer when you turn it this way or that. It’s for you to tug on that ribbon and peel back that gold-kissed paper and see what he has to say. So here it is. Go ahead. Take it.
This is what I was talking about earlier when I suggested most aspiring fantasists will lose heart fairly early on. I was in my mid-teens when I discovered that I was a writer. Notice that I didn’t say “wanted to be a writer.” “Want” has almost nothing to do with it. It’s either there or it isn’t. If you happen to be one, you’re stuck with it. You’ll write whether you get paid for it or not. You won’t be able to help yourself. When it’s going well, it’s like reaching up into heaven and pulling down fire. It’s better than any dope you can buy. When it’s not going well, it’s much like giving birth to a baby elephant.
That’s why it doesn’t matter if people think we have zero chances of success in these fields. It doesn’t matter if today was me spending an hour in labor to birth this baby elephant instead of pulling down fire from the sky. The fire will come back another time.
Until then, gentle viewers, be writers.
Posted on December 8, 2011, in writing business, writing process and tagged Arts, david eddings, Elephant, motivation, Writer, writer's block, Writers Resources, writing, writing process. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.