The Stories Begun

{June 9, 2010}   A distinct difference in attitude.

Sorry about the late post.  I’m less than a week away from hopping out of town for the marriage of two very good friends.  Between the prep for going out of town for a week AND making the bridesmaid dress, yesterday got away from me.  But I did get this blog mostly done—hooray for almost making the goal. :/

So!  Let’s talk about the evil mistress that is writer’s block.  Writer’s block is the bane of amateur writers across the world, and nothing good can come of it.  Stories lie fallow and fester.  They die.  Now, you may ask: Why does she say amateur writers?

Because writer’s block is a load of bunk.

In my limited experience of interviews of my favorite (and not so favorite) authors and a former professor who is the genuine article, professional writers make a concerted effort to write daily.  Screw the world (or whatever small part of it is trying to destroy their writing time), barricade the door, and have at it.  My professor would get up early each morning so that he got his daily forty-five minutes in.  That’s all he asked of the universe: forty-five minutes.  With four (soon to be five) rambunctious boys, sometimes that meager amount was a stretch, but it did the trick for him.  He stayed on top of his game.

Was the writing always good?  No!  His wife would read over most of what he did within a few days of doing it and make suggestions.  These suggestions were often passed on to me, as I was taking an advanced novel writing course from him.  He’d tell me how he applied these techniques to his novels so I had some reference.  Many of his forty-five minute sessions were spent in re-writing that which had not turned out the way he wanted.  But, in the working world is any employee always at peak performance?  No!

However, despite not always being at peak performance, surgeons are still required to be on duty.  Accountants need to show up to work every day.  Computer programmers still need to be there, fighting bugs and improving the design of the current product.  Off days happen, but these men and women plow through them.  Why?  Because there is a certain amount of necessity to each of these jobs.  Surgery on self is not recommended, some people cannot wrap their head around numbers, and programming languages are lost on quite a bit of the general public.  Considering the dependence on health, money, and technology this world has, these people cannot throw up their hands and say, “I’m not feeling it today.”

So why is it that writers can do that?  Why do we allow ourselves to do that?  It is because we don’t let ourselves believe in the necessity of our own craft.  I believe this is the attitude difference that defines the professional from the amateur.  These authors don’t wait for inspiration, don’t let writer’s block even cross their mind, because somewhere inside, they believe in the necessity of their writing.  It may be just necessary for just them, but that belief in the vital importance of creating and art is the perfect antidote to writer’s block.

I won’t lie and say that I’m perfect at this yet.  This belief and attitude have a lot to do with self-confidence as well.  But I’m determined.  I spent five years immersed in an English degree.  I know literature is as vital to a civilization as the sciences.  I will learn to believe that my small piece of it is as important to the whole as the whole is important to us.


Okay, here’s this week’s small contribution to Scarlett.  I’m old fashioned and believe in beginning at the beginning.  So here we go:

Papa wasn’t home again.  Though Bébé wasn’t old enough to understand the whys and wherefores of his absences, she was aware he was gone.  Maman tried to sooth the weeping child, but Bébé did not comprehend enough to be soothed.  She only knew the emptiness, an emptiness that could not be filled until Papa came home.

What price Maman would have paid to be so blissfully unaware as her child.  Bébé was not yet a year old and lucky to be saddened merely by her Papa’s absence.  Maman knew better, and because Maman knew, she was afraid.  Papa’s zealous hunting of the man-wolves that plagued the hamlet was bordering on madness.  Perhaps it was already there.  He had little care for his safety, the fears of his wife, or the cries of his daughter.  The malevolent zeal in Papa’s eyes was matched only by the eyes of the pack.  Neither would rest until the other put down the gauntlet.

But Papa would not trust the creatures to keep any type of peace.  He was convinced of their violence, calling the blood lust he felt an instinct to protect.  Sometimes Maman wondered, had the man-wolves been acting on that same urge when this death-riddled contest of wills began?  She supposed it was probably so, though it did not matter.  This dispute could no longer be called something so mild as a protective impulse.  It was now a vendetta, perpetuated almost nightly by a small group of men and the pack.  And even though it was only perpetuated by the band of men, most of the village heartily supported the eradication of the man-wolves.

Maman rocked the cradle, consumed with her unpopular thoughts.  Bébé had cried herself to sleep, and so Maman was alone when she heard the shouts of the village men silenced.  She held her breath as the quiet hung in the air.  In a sudden, short moment, the silence was broken by three sounds, almost simultaneously: the wail of Bébé, a mournful sob, and, the instigator of it all, a wolf’s howl.

I think that’s it!  It’s not my favorite, but that’s what editing is for.  I’m just glad to have something that’s like what I want.

Happy writing,



loveofonearmy says:

I find it an intresting point of view on writers block. I understand both sides but as you know my abhorrence for editing i would much rather get it mostly write the first time *wink* i do like very much what of scarlette i see here and am hoping for more after the wedding! have a safe trip!

[…] to write, it may be an image I want to develop.  No serial one-shots allowed!  It’s been a disgustingly long time since I put up a writing sample.  This is a writing blog, for crying out loud!  Where’s the […]

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