The days when the words come easily are gifts. They are the moments when the writer is free from whatever distracts her. They are the times when the words pour forth – not necessarily good or perfect words but words that can be shaped and turned into something worthwhile. They are words with potential. Such days are rare. They are to be received with gratitude and purpose. If such days are rare, the writer should take advantage of them. She shouldn’t rest in the feeling of clarity; she should act upon it. She should write and write and write until her hands can do no more.
Most days are not like this. Most days, the writer struggles to write. The writer fights with the words. The writer fights with herself. She fights with everyday distractions: cleaning the house, paying the bills, buying stamps, going to the store for the one item that cannot wait but probably should. She fights a lot of things just to get to her desk or chair or wherever it is that she likes to write. When she gets there, she is followed by her thoughts, the thoughts that say she can’t write, she should give up the idea of being a writer, she should find a job doing anything but writing.
On bad days and sometimes even on good ones, she struggles with these thoughts and attitudes. On really bad days, she finds the one word she needs or maybe doesn’t need and writes it. She adds another word and another until she has a page filled with words. She does not evaluate these words; she is in the act of writing. To stop to consider her words is to allow entrance to all the things she has just overcome and this she must not do. She must keep those things at bay. She must write.
Then, one day, the words come easily again. She looks at the anomaly and ponders it. She might wonder why she struggled yesterday but not today. She might think she should wait for these good days, these days when the words come easily. She knows better. She knows, as Richard Hugo says, that the ease of writing one day is the result of battling through the other days. Thus, she looks at this strange day, the days when the words come to her and surprise her, and she gives thanks for it. She gets to work and writes the words that come easily.
Image: palo (CC BY NC SA 2.0)