Last night, I listened to Judy Blume talk about writing.
Work is hellish. I’m feeling “blah” about turning 35 and the ever-evolving lists of things I should be doing and changing while wondering what the fuck difference any of it makes and if this existential malaise is punishment for my insistent self-centeredness.
I’m plodding through a fiction project out of an obligation to finish; minus the passion that infused its beginnings. I’m wondering how long I can mine my mundane existence for blog content. Clicking “how-to” after “how-to” hoping some bit of advice or craft technique will breathe life into a bored and world-weary pen. Contemplating a writing break a la the third verse of “Song Cry.”
I needed last night. Badly.
I sat front row as Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) picked Judy Blume’s brain about her writing. How she came up with stories, her process, her characters, and how she felt about the cultural impacts of her work. In many instances, Blume described writing as something she just does. “When I’m in it, I’m in it. I can’t tell you how or where it comes from. It just…comes.”
Some people are hardwired for words.
And it’s not 10,000 hours or a morning routine or the right pen or a pretty-enough-but-unintimidating-looking notebook.
Some people write because they just…do.
Call it compulsion, possession, or inspiration, I’m sporadically stalked by stories demanding to be told and emotions that only sort themselves out when confronted on a page. There’s no formula. No taming it. It arrives on its own terms.*
Perhaps I should stop trying to force it.
[*] Wait. Are we talking about me or the writing?