On Writer’s Terror

“But, as clichéd as it may sound, that stuff only arrives by way of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong. We writers have to work hard. We have to show up. We have to put pen to paper or fingertip to key. We have to cry and sweat and bleed. But there’s no direct link between our suffering and the end result. Our tears, our sweat, our blood get poured out, and then, magically, from somewhere off in left field, the miracle appears. And the end result seems so disconnected from our effort that we wonder why it couldn’t have just shown up earlier, before we had that little visit to hell.”

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Sharon Rawlette, suitable for Halloween:
terrifiedEveryone who is a writer or knows a writer is aware of how terrifying it can be to sit down in front of a blank page. Why? A carpenter doesn’t look at a bare cinderblock foundation, drop his tool belt, and run away screaming. A chef doesn’t look at an empty frying pan and despair. Why does the writer, confronted with a blank piece of paper or a window labeled “Document1,” want to give up the ghost?

I think it has something to do with the fact that the carpenter has blueprints. The chef has recipes. And no one will complain if they build or cook the same thing twice. The writer has no such luxuries. The writer is cursed to start over, from scratch, every time. Like Sisyphus. Except the writer has to make the boulder, and each time it has to be a…

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