Monday, July 6, 2009

Strength in Numbers

Well, here's the thing. I'm a very creative procrastinator.

After a few successful weeks of regularly hitting my word count goal, I happened upon a dry spell. For one thing, I wasn't quite sure what the next scene should be. For another, I'd lost track of what the Bad Guy was doing. Further, I was reading an interesting book at the time, so the purported writer's block was a convenient excuse to visit somebody else's story instead of my own. Then (this next part is kind of gross) I nearly cut off a finger. That's a different story.

But everybody knows a girl can't type without all her fingers. It'll take a few weeks for me to recover, so I was actually looking forward to a few weeks of just catching up on some reading. My books-to-be-read shelf overfloweth. The injury seemed well-timed to my mental block. The recovery period would be a good time to let the manuscript gel for a while . . . see what the old subconscious could come up with.

But that damn Facebook! I can't stay away. And you know what? Soon I was typing despite my maimed finger, same as I'm doing right now. And this, oddly, disappointed me because it meant there really was no excuse.

I e-mailed a writing friend. "I'm blocked."
She replied: "After you read this, wash your face, eat a peanut butter and whatever sandwich and put your fingers on the keyboard. Even if its only one sentence you can say that you wrote."

I opened my file right then and wrote two hundred words. Later that night, another three hundred. Today, a thousand. What gives?

I'll tell you what gives. A kick in the pants.

I believe that in all things, sometimes there is simply strength in numbers. Encouragement. Accountability. Validation. I've seen this at play in the gym, within my running group, and even at my job. Yes, at the end of the day, we must do the work ourselves. But friends who are there to push us further when we doubt ourselves are golden. Thanks, Kate.

Take-away messages:
1. Hug a friend.
2. Facebook is physical therapy.


  1. That is very true... the butt kick and FB! lol I looked for you on FB but there are lots of 'Rachel Brady'.

  2. Hi Edain! Thanks for following my blog. I'm on FB with my maiden name in the middle. Try Rachel Beyer Brady, and I'll search for you as well. Edain might be an easier match. :-)

  3. Your friend is a wise writer. I take the following as a general rule: The less I feel like writing, the more I need to.

    The title of your blog says it all: Write it anyway. Write crap, if that's all you can turn out, because you can improve crap. There's no way to improve an empty page.

    I'm in trouble with my new book right now, and every day I have to force myself to put the butt on the chair and the fingers on the keyboard. But I do, and eventually I'll turn a corner and the story will start to come on its own again. I just have to remember that writing that comes easily isn't necessarily any better than writing that feels at the time like bricklaying. My experience is that I never know whether I'm writing well or badly, so the essential thing is to push forward regardless.