Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On Writing and Not Writing

Lately, I've had a little free time on my hands. Okay, a lot of free time on my hands. Getting laid off will do that to you. As a result, I've been listless, unfocused, and the words have been slow in coming. So in an effort to get my head right, maybe kick-start a little writing mojo, I've started running.

There was a time, several hundred years ago it seems, that I could run a mile in just a hair over five minutes. Now it feels closer to an hour -- slightly less, if you subtract out all the vomiting and crying.

I kid. Even without the vomiting and crying, it's still about an hour.

Once upon a time, I was a runner. Not competitively or anything; I ran to get in shape for soccer. A shame, really, since I was probably a better runner than a soccer player, but whatever. The point is, I was a runner because I ran. And, due to injuries and laziness, I stopped running, at which point I was no longer a runner. Now, for the past few days at least, I'm a runner again. A much suckier one than I used to be, maybe, but a runner nonetheless.

Sounds like a trivial point, but I don't think it is. See, once you see your name in print a few times, maybe finish a novel or two, you get to thinking maybe you're a Writer. Like Writer is some mystical title the universe bestows upon you.

Crap, I say.

A writer is someone who writes. If you don't write, you're not a writer -- it's as simple as that. I'm not saying it has to happen every day, but it has to happen. And these past two weeks, this so-called Writer hasn't felt much like a writer.

Maybe I should go a little easier on myself. Accept this recent bout of Not Writing as part of the psychological fallout of joblessness. But again I say crap. I wanna be a writer, I've gotta write. It's the only qualification for the title, after all -- or at least the only one that matters.

Today, I'm glad to say, I'm a writer. Got ten new pages to show for it, too (and yeah, I'm counting the all-caps notes I left for myself so's I know where to pick back up tomorrow; what of it?) More important than the page-count is the fact the gears are turning. For the first time in a while, I know what the next ten pages look like. And maybe even the ten after that.

And for now, that's all I need. 'Cause to hell with being a Writer; what I really want's to write.