“I think everything good in my own work I owe to endurance.”
"But tell yourself the well is filling up" is one of the most inspiring, refreshing, energetic, positive phrases I've ever read on the writing block subject. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you for this. Deeply consoling: “I regret being unable to occupy that state constantly, but to be there at all seems a marvel beyond all others”
There is a terror that happens in the gap between words, between works. A panic that the ink of yourself has been poured out beyond what can be refilled. That the last words you penned will be the last words you ever pen again. That they'll never come back again. That you'll never write again. You hold your breath in the wait. It's not a question of brute force or strength, but rather your ability to endure.
Louise's emails are just amazing. I loved reading them on Twitter this weekend and I'm so glad you rounded them up here!
There are no drugs to mitigate what people go through when wringing out the writing that’s above and beyond ‘content’.
You were wise to scrap your earlier effortful stuff and lift these quotes. Your ability to see that, name that in writing, and then shift is one of your super-powers: feels like where your lightning lies. It helps the rest of us that you do. Grateful for your work!
What a great thing to read while preparing for NaNoWriMo. 🙃
I’ll echo others’ sentiments about the well. But I also connected with previous work as a reprimand. I felt that heavily when I was young and it seized me completely. My mantra is “there will be more” when I think I have no words left.
Thank you for this, Mason! Louise always somehow reminds me of Mary Oliver. Two legends that reminds me of the reason I started writing poetry!
Such wisdom! Some of these lines about literary “productivity” are worth hand-copying into one’s journal. I only wish she had found such wide recognition earlier in her career so that more of us could have benefited from her advice while we and she were struggling with our writing projects.
Thank you for sharing these nuggets.
Great post, Mason! She was a powerhouse. I just finished a good book on productivity (or anti-productivity) by Oliver Burkeman, and his attitude is very Gluckian.
I teach screenwriting and recommend your book to students all the time.
Can't wait to read your next one.
I love “Tell yourself the well is filling up (it is).”
IT IS! It’s a process we can totally trust!
Without doubt the feeling of working for years and getting nowhere and or not knowing when a creative drought will end is brutal. And it’s in those periods I question why was I born this way lol. It would have been much easier to have a passion for engineering or teaching because at least with those, there’s a clear path and a regular check. But as much as I hate it, I also thrive on the uncertainty. I know exactly what I’m going to get with the other things, but with this you never know. There is unlimited upside potential and yes there’s a downside but we ain’t focusing on that. This is who we are and it’s how we were made. Security is an illusion. Tomorrow it can be all gone, so have the courage to be in the game today. The next shot might be yours.
I think you have to accept the good with the bad. In every pro sport, high-level profession, or whatever gladiator arena you choose. No one escapes the off night or day. Fortunately for creatives, someone’s life or the season is usually not at risk on our bad days, only a bruised ego. In that sense, you got made in the shade. Keep putting. Keep shooting. Keep swinging the sword, you’re closer than you think. And even if it’s trash in your estimation, it just might be treasure under someone else’s appraisal.
Thanks for that.
Every time I write a post I think, Ok well, that's probably the last one. Now 40 posts later, I keep thinking of just *one more* thing I want to say. So I don't know, maybe giving myself permission to end this project at any time has relaxed my mind enough to keep it going?