Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting down to business


There are times (too many times) when I find myself playing writer--you know, the way we used to play office or school when we were little?

Playing writer is so much easier than being a writer. I get to rearrange my desk, change the lighting, add this inspirational quote over here, move that writerly object over there. Sometimes I get to wander around OfficeMax, buy new pens or notebooks or stock up on paper for the printer (although we're usually out of toner, which renders the paper generally useless for its intended purpose and I end up scribbling grocery lists on it instead).
And if I'm really desperate to update my surroundings, organize, or expand my horizons (read: procrastinate), I can always clean out my files. Yes, cleaning out my files is vitally important to my writing success. After all, don't readers want their authors to have uncluttered files? Isn't that some kind of an unspoken rule of the publishing world? "Author will provide, at all times, proof that he/she maintains uncluttered files and a well-lit and nicely-decorated/inspirational quote-surrounded environment."

I always feel so much more like a writer when I'm not sitting in front of my computer. After all, feeling like a writer doesn't require thinking--merely the appropriate accoutrements to the profession. On the other hand, being a writer is work. Hard work. Lots and lots of hard work. And when I can't think of anything worthwhile to write, I feel like a failure. So pretending to be what I know I truly am satisfies me for the moment. Sometimes. Most of the time, though, pretending just makes me feel more like a failure than I feel like when I'm writing. (If I haven't confused you yet, I haven't done my job.)

Yes, I can always use a new pen (those Pentel gel pens are my favorite) or another notebook or clean files, inspirational quotes are indeed inspiring, and rearranging my desk gives me something new to look at while I'm staring off into the distance. But none of those are substitutes for the real stuff of writing: sitting down and writing. No two ways about it. Writers write.

Now if I just had a new pencil box, everything would be perfect.

Until the next time...

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