"a long flabby drift" -- best description EVER of the challenges of freelance life! I laughed out loud and then wrote it in my journal to remind myself of the importance of the "focused effort."
Ack, I love when a writer calls out the writerly tendency to be a dramatic chaos being. And to your point, maybe Glissing just needed, like, a vacation sometimes? Sounds like his brain was on 100 all the time (not that I know what that’s like or anything, huh).
So great, Mason! Made me wonder about Glissing’s actual productivity. Maybe he was prolific but didn’t actually LOVE a lot of it or think it was his best effort? I wonder this about a lot of prolific creators. What’s the filter like there? Do we all just need incredibly low filters?
And I loved your piece for Alta. Bookmarked and shared with my friends in my writing community. Thanks for summing up what you’ve learned over the years!
Thank you, this is exactly what I experienced when I got writer’s block while trying to write a PhD dissertation in literature. Pages and pages but nothing I liked, nothing I thought was good. All rubbish and I eventually abandoned the project. I also have many laments buried in my journal 😢
Interesting. I've rarely had I guess what people call writer's block but it still happens...recently went through a bit of a bout of it here with PC...maybe still not a full block, but I just thought everything I was creating was garbage...hopefully seems like I'm back on the beam now. I find you just need to have the guts to work through it!
I think you've discovered the Van Gogh of writers. If I remeber correctly, Van Gogh completed a full (large) painting every 36 hours over 10 years of painting. Which is a brutal, unbelievable pace.
& it's wild to me how we as creatives seem to run over the same ground century after century. I'm reading Delacroix's journal (1831-50s) and it's eerie - as you mentioned - the parallel in thoughts.
I loved reading this character's commentary on clerks. Maybe four times a year I wax poetic on how wonderful it must be to clock out and shut your mind off to your work, have benefits & not be responsible for a company's worth of roles. (Self inflicted career but I'm allowed to marvel, am I not?)
Thank you for this! Such an oddly comforting & interesting read.
Sounds like Gissing was basically doing NaNoWriMo 100 years early!
Amy sounds much like my X, except Amy is nicer.
But power doesn’t answer to the will. That's it! That really is it...
I believe that inspiration is the fruit of something planted. Something that grows and yields. It requires light, and air, and water, and nourishing. But, I also believe that the soil needs a sabbath. That there are times when even the earth of your imagination should be allowed to be fallow. I believe that sometimes the ground needs rest, before something new can take root.
I remember reading Gissing's Grub Street while studying for my Ph.D. orals exams and the image of all of these desperate writers just felt a bit too on the nose for me. I think I'd have a different appreciation for it now.
And: very excited for another #blocktober!
Listening seems to be part of the writers journey. Like penning a dream, the more you cajole it, the faster it evaporates!
Very helpful article on Alta!
Yay for the return of #blocktober - I can't wait for your take on what 'power' responds to next week. As you know I am obsessed by the idea of creative persistence and the ups and downs that are part of the process. Knowing other writers (and creatives) experience this makes us feel less alone. Gissing makes us all feel seen!
This was such a wonderful exploration of writers block. Thanks :)
I really liked your Alta Piece! I bookmarked it for later reference.
But this: "So what does power answer to? I mean, if it can’t be summoned by sheer willpower, then how can it be summoned? I’ll try to address that next time."
I'm supposed to wait two weeks? 😳
Ah, I'd forgotten how good New Grub Street is. I should reread it.