It's easy to blame people, situations... stuff. There's always a reason why it's hard to sit down and write, or blog, or do all those things that fills us up. In the past few months, I've had a list of excuses as long as my leg (yes, longer than my arm). First came the rejections, then the bad performance in a writing competition, and so I allowed myself to swallow the excuses. Can't write because I'm busy at work. Can't write because tonight I really feel like veging in front of the telly. Can't write because I need more time to think about this story because this time I really need to get it right. Can't write because there's a certain intangible something that I must discover that will be the answer I've been seeking and will help me to become that writer I dream of... On and on and on. What a load of bullshit.
Truth is, sometimes - or oftentimes - it's hard to write, because it's hard to write. Simple as that. Maybe it's hard because the ideas don't seem to be there - and they certainly won't come without putting fingers to the keys. Or maybe it's hard because writing - writing well, that is - involves opening yourself up in a way that allows others to wound you. And nobody likes to make themselves vulnerable. Sometimes writing feels like standing on the edge of a cliff. Somewhat safe, but still scary. Other times it feels like walking along wearing a blindfold with someone leading you God knows where. Every step feels as though it could lead you into an abyss, and we edge forward centimetres at a time when the actual reality is that it's smooth and safe ahead. If only we had the guts to take big steps and really get moving.
In the last few weeks, I've joined a writing group with some women I've known for a few years - great writers, some published and others on the way - and it feels good. I'm nudging myself forward again, venturing material for their advice and criticism. It feels quite safe, as they're all (the ones I've met so far) lovely women and the environment feels supremely supportive. Just what any writer needs. Another reason joining this group is a great step forward is that it's going to push me to keep producing material for workshopping. Yesterday I put forward the first chapter of my new WIP, and I really enjoyed getting the variety of feedback from the group. Now I have somewhere to go with it and I can start to tackle my problems with lack of tension, or conflict. It's all good, so thank you friends!
Another plus is that the group produces quite a lot of poetry, and so I have been pushed outside my comfort zone, to examine writing that isn't up my alley. Poetry is so good for defining emotion and visual imagery with an economy of words, which is good for me, the 'too much' girl. Hopefully this will teach me to pare it back, be spare, and with that, make less words do the job more powerfully.