n interesting test for a writer.
Today (after my enjoyable bike/train/bus commute and some sit-on-my-can meetings) I slipped quietly out of work and drifted over to a fast food place. Early lunch, it isn’t too noisy and they keep the muzak to a minimum. I sat down and ate lunch while reading my prior efforts on my tinytop, then easily slid back into the story line. This was enjoyable. It’s the way writing should be. Even in a noisy plastic environment I sipped my coke and wrote. I was like a shopper in a market, picking out the words and phrases that were the most clever, the least stale. I really felt good about writing (and smiled all the way back to the office).
So now it’s last afternoon and I’m sitting here after a long day. I’ve got a couple of windbags yacking seven feet from my desk. I’ve been data-harvesting all afternoon and suffered a tedious staff meeting. Now my energy is low. I’m sipping stone-dead coffee and thinking that I’ve got a DOG EAR to get out tomorrow and I need to come up with something. I can’t seem to think straight.
But three hours ago, I was writing like a concert pianist. Now I’m like a gorilla with a suitcase.
So which is the sign of the better writer?
I considered this as a started writing this email home (which, by tomorrow, will be a blog entry). I thought about the difference in effort writing can take; spring-day-in-the-garden writing (which we dream of) as opposed to 2-am-before-the-deadline writing (that we are forced into). And if you are going to be a versatile writer, one that can work with editors under pressure and come up with solid skillful writing, you’re going to have to learn to get yourself moving when your energy levels are low and your enthusiasm is as slimy and cold as a garden slug. The interesting thing is, as I write this, I don’t hear the conversation much at all. The words are coming easier. And I’m back in my groove.
So keep this in mind – you need to be able to write when you need to, not when you want to, if you are going to produce professional prose.
Now if I could only get myself enthused to go back to work.