I’ve been meaning to write the counterpoint blog to Writing and Leisure, and I haven’t gotten around to it because I’ve been, well...writing. Which I guess is the counterpoint right there. That is, while it’s true that writing requires room and time, what’s even more true is that writing requires—first, foremost, and always—BiC.
Butt in Chair.
Once, years ago, I was invited to attend a support group/networking meeting for women in the creative arts. The moderator went around the room and asked each of us to visualize and describe a perfect workday. One aspiring writer described her day in such wondrous detail, I’ve never forgotten it. First, she would wake up to the sound of birds singing and sunshine streaming through her gauzy white curtains. Then, after a delicious breakfast, she’d spend the day sitting under a venerable oak tree, listening to the wind and the bees; following this, a horseback ride through a meadow, capped by gathering wildflowers. She would then cook a fabulous dinner for friends and spend the evening, eating, drinking wine, telling stories, laughing and sharing. Then, at long last, she would...fall into bed.
This, she said, would be just the ticket to put her in the frame of mind necessary to create.
I never went to another meeting. I was a total newbie, but I already knew enough to realize that was two hours I could have been writing.
Frame of mind has nothing to do with it. Having the right computer software, the best computer, the most organized desk, an ergonomic desk chair, a certain allotment of hours has nothing to do with it. Even that most-oft-invoked prerequisite, inspiration, has very little to do with it.
Just about the only thing that has anything to do with writing is actually writing.
In a lovely bit of synchronicity, as I was thinking about this post I stumbled across this poem by novelist Charles Bukowski.
air and light and time and space
"–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
© Charles Bukowski, Black Sparrow Press
Butt. In. Chair. Fingers on keyboard or pen or pencil or sharpened quill. Go.