Thursday, April 22, 2010

Redneck Work Ethic

Man, it’s been one of those weeks when writing is like mowing the back forty by hand in the hot sun with a plastic spoon. Or something folksy like that.

I have felt thick as a brick all week, but I keep squeezing that noggin of mine, trying to get the words to come out, coming up with nothing but brick juice at times.

There was a time when I only wrote when I felt inspired. Ha. These days, I ain’t got time fer no galdang inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t mean a thing. The perspiration is what it’s about for me. And right now I’m rocking big old yellow pit stains on my wife beater.

Yeah, yeah. So this should come as no surprise. We all know the 10 % inspiration - 90 % perspiration formula for all creative endeavors, but there are moments when you really take that on board and believe it. It occurred to me several years ago that nobody looks at the Great Pyramid of Giza and says, “You know, I can tell those slaves really felt like building this pyramid.” No, they sure as heck didn’t. But that pyramid is still a thing of wonder. How you feel about working is less meaningful than doing the job anyway, whatever mood you’re in.

When I’m writing, I don’t generally set up any word count that I’m trying to meet on a daily basis. It’s more about problem solving and making sure each solution moves the story forward. I do try to observe that writing rule to never walk away from your story unless you know where you’re going next. But even that is sometimes difficult. At times, like I said, I get nothing from my efforts but brick juice. But I come back anyway the next day, sit down, and have faith that the ideas will come. Or at the very least, I hope the Muse will give me credit for showing up once again and throw me a bone. OK, so there's another of those cliches that applies here: "90 % of life is just showing up."

Writing is a high-falutin’ sort of undertaking but sometimes -- well, sometimes you just have to put that John Deere hat on, put a pinch between your cheek and gum, and, by golly, just git r done.

Thank you and God Bless America.