Monday, December 21, 2009

Uncap the Pen

Just do it, I tell myself. Open the notebook. Scratch out the words. Sit down at the desk. Let fingers find keys.

A dozen words. A hundred. A thousand.

Uncover the characters. Discover voices. Let them tell their stories. Listen to their dialog. Shake your head over their mistakes. Let them try. Let them fail. Let them try again.

Keep going, I tell myself. Don't stop when it gets hard, or stupid, or off-track. Don't let complications get in the way. Don't find excuses. Wake earlier. Exercise later. Write quietly, so as not to wake the restless ones, the demanding ones, the precious needy ones.

No. It's not too hard. It's certainly not impossible, I tell myself. Try.

But it's hard.

Yes, I tell myself. Yes, it is hard. And remember this: You've done harder things, I tell myself. But the only way it's impossible is if you never uncap the pen.

Go. Sit. Write. Words. Phrases and sentences. Conversations, turning points, actions, conflicts, resolutions.

But, but, but... But what? I ask. But what if it's awful? What if the words won't come? What if the words I write are useless? What if I've used up my allotment of good / funny / poignant / meaningful words? What if nobody ever reads it?

What if nobody ever reads it?

Write it, I tell myself. Uncap the pen. Nobody will ever, ever read the words you don't write. And most people will never read the words you do write, and is that really, really why you do it?

No, I answer. The words are there, inside me. They want to be set free, to get out, to taste the air.

Uncap the pen.

Set the words free.


  1. I have so many started drafts of stories that I have been inspired to write. Unfortunately, I've gotten writer's block with every single one of them. I can identify with you very much with this post.

  2. I think this happens to the best of us. Keep writing, Becca. You're a great writer. I mean that. I think every writer needs to hear that now and then.

  3. Beautiful, Becca. I need to uncap my pen. I need to trust that the words are inside of me and that they're my words--not just decoration.
    Write on, Becca. I'm reading.

  4. ditto...I need to uncap my paintbrush, too.

    (Plus even if no else reads it...I will!)

  5. Absolutely. Just do it. No excuses, no waffling. Sit down and do it, and it will change your life for the better.

  6. This post is the most beautiful Christmas gift to me.... it is as if you were writing specifically to my doubtful mind. I figure most writers feel the same discouragement at some times or another. But it is the one's that listen to the encouraging voice who will become great writers.

  7. Yeah. No one reads what we never write. Getting past that, getting the words down, is more than half the battle.

    I think the rest of the battle might be in editing.


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