Repetitive Like a Mechanic and Spontaneous like an Artist

When we put our words on the page, it’s ok for them to be all over the place. It’s ok if our sentences don’t connect, if we’re incoherent or we ramble. As writers we have to let ourselves go through this daily rite of passage. Eventually we’ll arrive at a place where our voices become clear and lucid. We’ll then write a coherent sentence or two, maybe three.

Some days we’ll even write paragraphs, pages and essays in which we manage to sculpt our words into beauty that as my friend and writer Ashley Ambrige would say hits people in the face with a crowbar. It’s tempting to think we can only show up on those days. Other days we’ll manage as Dani Shapiro says in her book Still Writing, to put the shape of our soul between the covers. And on the best of days we’ll bleed poetry onto the page, one drop of ink at a time, shaping and shifting a narrative into something that creates a ripple beyond any measure.

But we never know when these days will occur. There are good writing days and bad writing days. When I sit down to write I never know which kind it’s going to be. Like waves are to a surfer, the muse is on its own schedule, not ours. All we can do is show up and hope that the forecast is accurate.

So the only way to deal with it is to sit down and write everyday. Repetitive like an artist, spontaneous like a mechanic.

I’m the host of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Stitcher.

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