"Inspiration does not always precede the act of writing; it often follows it. I go to my typewriter with reluctance; I check the ribbon; I check my black felt pens; I polish my collection of spectacles; finally I start to put words, almost any words, down on paper. Usually, then, the words themselves will start to flow; they push me, rather than vice versa." - Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet, p. 162.
These words echo yesterday's IWSG Facebook post. Motivational Monday rings out with the scathing question: Do you wait until you feel like it before you write? The embarrassing truth is that I usually complain that I don't much feel like writing today, thank you very much, so I won't.
Saturday afternoon I looked outside my back door. The few potted plants I brought from Atlanta rattled in the breeze, only three of which are still alive. I've needed to clean out the old, dead foliage for months. But I don't feel like it. It's cold. It's dark when I get home from work. I pulled a muscle in my neck and chest and it's too painful to move (ok, that one is legitimate). My courtyard is cluttered with matted dead plants and crumpled leaves. All because I don't feel like cleaning up.
Is this an analogy of my writing mind? Perhaps, yes. Perhaps with the continual shoving away of the WORK of writing, slowly I let in the mold and decay. The same debris that slowly suffocates my still living plants symbolically chokes my stories. Just as the plants didn't ask me to plant them, I didn't ask for these ideas to come to me.
No matter. The responsibility is the same. Be you gardener or writer or some amalgam of both responsibility of caretaker is heavy. You water the herbs whether you feel like it or not. You weed the parsnips whether you feel like it or not. You sit at your computer and type - like it or not. Why? To keep things alive.
Stories are living things. They require constant trimming, pruning, fertilization to thrive. Just like my plants.