Monday, December 31, 2012

Writer's block and the drip

Writer's block and the drip:
Why do we get stuck?
Writer's block was 'invented' in the 1940s. Before that, not only wasn't there a word for it, it hardly existed. The reason: writing wasn't a high stakes venture. Writing was a hobby, it was something you did in your spare time, without expecting a big advance or a spot on the bestseller list.
Ngramwritersblock
Now, of course, we're all writers. We put our ideas into words and share them with tens or thousands of people, for all time, online. Our words spread.
With the stakes higher than ever, so is our fear.
Consider the alternative to writer's block: the drip. A post, day after day, week after week, 400 times a year, 4000 times a decade. When you commit to writing regularly, the stakes for each thing you write go down. I spent an hour rereading Gary Larson's magical collection, and the amazing truth is that not every cartoon he did was brilliant. But enough of them were that he left his mark.
You can find my most popular posts of the year right here. My new collection, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck is now available at finer bookstores online and off. I could never, ever have signed up to write this book, never sat down to create it. But since I had six years to write it, it created itself.
You don't launch a popular blog, you build one.
The writing isn't the hard part, it's the commitment. Drip!