Writing is mostly not writing

Thank you Aaron Sorkin!

I have to give credit for the title to Aaron Sorkin, who said it before me. But to my credit, I knew exactly what he meant. I've seen Sorkin's Masterclass, one of the first and certainly one of the best, and I've devoured all his YouTube videos. He is famous for insisting on strong intention and obstacle as necessities in any good, dramatic work, and his explanation of this is good stuff. But I have to confess that my favorite little nugget is the confession he shared unabashedly. EIGHT SHOWERS A DAY! He didn't make it clear whether he does this regularly or just on occasion, but he admits to taking eight showers a day when in the writing process, and I completely relate to that. I almost titled this article, Aaron Sorkin is single handedly killing our environment, but I prefer to assume he is well enough off to have installed some sort of elaborate recycled rainwater system. 

Turning refuse to refuge

We are all familiar with the places where we do our best thinking, and it is rarely at the desk, with pen to paper, or in front of a computer. For me, it is the shower, the car, the middle of the night, and just so I can say I one-upped Aaron Sorkin for embarrassing candor, the toilet. Especially if you're a parent, you must know how to use the bathroom as a refuge, and although I can't in good conscience justify the damaging waste, there's no doubt that eight showers a day would do wonders for my writing.

Then you start writing (a bit)

All this to say that writing is rarely about actual writing. It's first about living life open to inspiration, or better yet, using your curiosity to seek it out. Then, it is about letting that inspiration marinate. Then, it's about letting your imagination roam and ruminating over every possibility. Then you do a bit of research. AND then maybe, possibly, once you've exhausted all other form of activity, you start writing, a bit. 

Writing is hard work, they say

There are those who will tell you that writing is simply about discipline–the prescribed, put your ass in the chair, remedy; the ones who say they write a certain number of words, pages, chapters, or books, per day and who are certainly the best of the best among us. Maybe so, but I'm encouraged by those writers who know the difference between writing and waiting, patiently, until they have something worth saying. Writing is hard work, they say. Is it? Should it be? I kinda think if it is that hard, maybe you should try something else. I just think hard is the wrong word. I prefer, challenging, and that's what makes it fun. 

As for my own process, I, proudly, don't have one. I write when I'm inspired to write, and when I'm not writing there is plenty to get done in its service. And if not, at least Aaron Sorkin and I will be squeaky clean.


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