The landscape of serious writing is acknowledging that there are always reasonable and loud excuses not to write.

At work, you have to get all the disparate parts to work together. You have to work through your to-do list. You have to face the pain of completing difficult or unpleasant tasks. If you don’t, you get reprimanded, written up or fired. At home, you have to pick up the kids, drop them off, attend games, all while still managing to get groceries, balance the checkbook and fit in the occasional date with your spouse. There are arguments and break-downs and all other unknowns obstacles along the way every day. But what do you do? Failure, neglect and divorce aren’t options.

No, you keep trudging forward, one step at a time. If you stop trying, you’ve got yourself a country song. You lose your job, your house, your wife and kids. Eventually your dog.

Well the same is true with writing. Crafting a story begins with seemingly endless inspirations, influences and grand goals running against the reality of experience, education and the many distractions of real life. It’s a puzzle where every piece is itself another puzzle. And what’s worse, you don’t HAVE to do it. The world would be just fine without your little story. (Yes, they’re ALL little from a world perspective.) So what motivation do you have to face yet another set of spinning blades when your plate is already full.

I don’t have an answer for that, actually. In fact I almost talked myself out of continuing my own writing. I’m that good. No, you have to answer that for yourself. Maybe it’s because people say you can’t. Maybe it’s the high-fiber muffin of your life — I has to come out or you’ll explode in a cloud of stinking shit.

Ahem. Sorry.

Or maybe writing is enjoyable specifically because of the hard parts. You enjoy the stories. You love the sharing. You love the too-rare attention and praise. But you love the part of it that is puzzling. It’s your daily New York Times Crossword. Writing keeps your mental juices flowing. It’s okay that creating a story play a love-hate role in your life.

Whatever it is that has every caused you to plop down in front of a keyboard or curl up with a diary or notebook. Find that whatever that has ever put you in the midst of hipsters and jazz or old folks and their poetry and memoirs (I love you all, btw) and give it a hug. Welcome it back into your life. Move things around. Explain that whatever to those who love you. Or just have faith that they get your weirdness.

But get back to writing. Just like there’s never a perfect time to get married or a perfect time to have kids, in my opinion there’s never a perfect time to write. If you’re not sacrificing or shoe-horning it in to a certain degree, you ain’t doing it right. The landscape of serious writing is acknowledging that there are always reasonable and loud excuses not to write.

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