When You Haven’t Written

I am exhausted. Tired. After clearing out a bag’s worth of junk from some of my little areas of the house, playing with my son in the snow, running out and getting stuff for my wife, I realized that I hadn’t taken the time to blog or much less write at all today. It now feels like a chore.

There’s two little anecdotes that come to mind right now:

  1. Don’t break the chain.
  2. Grease the wheels.

On the surface, they don’t seem overly relevant, but for a creator, I am learning that they both make absolute, perfect sense. And in a way, they say the same thing while addressing entirely different areas.

First, let’s unpack “Don’t break the chain.” I believe this was a piece of advice I heard Seinfeld give to another comic. It speaks of doing something everyday in one’s craft. Having that momentum is a hug help. Although even if my word count isn’t high, even a little writing the day before is a big help in getting started. Breaking that chain results in a stumble. Then the effort to get back on point is greater than if the chain hadn’t been broken. Again, I can attest to this being the case.

And then that brings me into “Grease the wheels.” It is funny that one of the best tricks to getting rid of writer’s block is to just write. Counter intuitive? Absolutely. But writer’s block, whatever the cause, is not something like an injury that a person must rest, waiting for the body to be healed, or waiting for motivation and inspiration to come along. Writing through writer’s block is a messy thing. In most cases, the words are all junk. To be discarded. But the task ends up being cathartic. The junk a cleansing act. The exercise turns from junk into something workable. It’s metaphorically throwing grease into the writing gears, allowing them to unstick.

As I sit here, pounding out these words so that I get a worthwhile posting up today, I think a lot on those two anecdotes. It might be tough, but I can’t break the chain. I have to keep these wheels greased so that I can write better tomorrow.

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