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Come to mama

Epiphany of the day:

"Writing a book is like rearing children—willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, the baby will starve. You do it out of love. Willpower is a weak idea; love is strong. You don’t have to scourge yourself with a cat-o’-nine tails to go to the baby. You go to the baby out of love for that particular baby. That’s the same way you go to your desk."

Annie Dillard in her essay "To Fashion a Text" from the book Inventing the Truth

Comments

I love this thought. Too many people think of writing as something guilt-based. "I really *should* do that next chapter, but I'd rather (insert self-indulgence) or I need to (insert odious chore here). When a writer loses the love and the joy that first brought her to the process, she may as well go and drop off an application for night shift duty at the local Stop N' Rob.
Anonymous said…
It's funny, I've used the words "I need to" or "I have to", but once I sit down, the magic starts to happen. Not every time, of course, but most times.

I think I use the words for those around me, so they won't bother me - the "I need to", takes their "but I want to" out of the equation, and I get left alone.

One of those little subtlties that you don't realize you're using till you think about it.

Of course, sometimes the "I need to" is exactly right. If I don't sit down and write I'm going to go crazy. It's a need, a hunger. The images are there, waiting to be described, waiting to be shared, thereby driving the "I need" words.

These are the times I "Get up with the baby" and get out of my bed and go to the computer. These are the times the dogs get stroked absently intead of actively while I stare at the screen, working out exactly that next sentence, or as in most cases when this need strikes, ignored all together.

But yeah, if you don't feel the above when you say "Need" maybe it is time to examine what you're doing.
I think you're right, MsIsis, about feeling like your head will possibly explode if you don't get to the work-in-progress. If I try to take off a few days, the pressure builds up and I get seriously grumpy.

Maybe this writing's half-love, half-addiction.

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