This week in Sunday Life I trust the process
I had dinner with a guy recently who dedicated entrée to telling me that all writers are self-indulged w*nkers. “You all go on about the pain of writing,” he said. “Plumbers don’t write about how hard their work is, you don’t read about ‘plumber’s block’.”
I’m a writer. I had to respond. First, I said, with the spine tingle of a good comeback, plumbers don’t write. “Perhaps they take out their frustration on an S-bend,” I suggested gently. “We know about writer’s pain because we read their work. “
Second, writing is a creative process. And any creative process – whether it’s painting or interpretive dancing or inventing a new S-bend wrench – is the expression of the human struggle to share our inner selves. Displaying our inside, or “true”, selves is all about standing out on the farthest limb, exposed and vulnerable, and saying “here!”. We all have, at our core, an important urge to do this, and yet at the same time a primal fear of it. Ergo, creative block.
Funnily, not long after I found myself at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival chatting to a bunch of writers about the pain of the creative struggle. (Here’s a new collective noun for you: “a writer’s festival of whingers”.) Whether you’re a writer or wrench inventor or embarking on a big, formative project, you know this struggle. It’s an important one. A damn tough one, too.
There was consensus from most of the writers: just start. It doesn’t matter if you produce crap. From the crap, something always emerges.