Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Greatest Fan

In the early days of writing, writers spin stories for themselves. They're testing themselves against their own minds, to see if they can actually do this story-telling thing. They experience brief moments of euphoria as they hammer out a beautiful paragraph or a twist that sends a chill even through its creator. That's when the itch takes root. The better those tiny moments, the more those capillary roots grow from the writer to the page, the more a writer turns an itch into a passion.

Then come the days when the writing doesn't sing so well. The sentences aren't so pretty--the twists too common. Sometimes those days turn into weeks. The writer gets angry, disappointed, depressed. He turns to talking about writing instead of doing the deed itself. And sometimes he convinces himself that's the same thing as writing the stories.

He morphs into a writing groupie instead of fighting to be the writer.

A writer has to be his best fan, the loudest cheerleader in his own head.

A writer has to think he has the potential to be good...even great. He has to be his own drill instructor, beating himself up over the phrases, the tenses, the voices. He has to remind himself that words are powerful, and it's important to find the right ones. He has to enforce himself when he falters, nudging his ego, reminding the writer inside that he has skill, rough as it may be, and that it takes time, practice, and exercise to make those writing muscles toned and productive.

He has to show up to work whether he's happy or down, whether there's a spark of an idea or his mind is cold, damp, and dark. Because the best sense of accomplishment comes from walking into that dead, smutty, cheerless environment and cleaning out the cobwebs. Inch by inch, the writer clears out the dust, wiping away the smudge, airing out the room. After a long rehab, spurred only by the visions in his head of what could possibly be, he begins to see what could be charming . . . even handsome. Hopefully remarkable.

There are no shortcuts from that forlorn place to the fetching finished product. And the only person who stands between the beginning and the end, is the writer. He has to be his biggest fan before he can ask others to be fans, too.  The foundation must be there.


Sioux Roslawski said...


Even though I revel in self-denigrating humor about myself at my inner core, there is a bit of cockiness or arrogance. I KNOW I have a gift and come up with a great phrase or a snort-worthy image.

Now, if I could just string a whole bunch of those phrases together into one piece... ;)

Karen said...

Thanks for the reminder to keep moving forward. I need that!

Hope Clark said...

We can be our own worst enemy. We make or break ourselves.

Melanie Ormand said...

What synchronistic advice, Hope. Your words apply not only to my writing life but also to my physical life: working to get both into strong, productive, fit shape.

Thank you!

Melanie Ormand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hope Clark said...

Much thanks, Melanie. Glad the message worked for you.