When something’s not coming, it’s coming

Every creative has experienced it: that sinking feeling as you stare at the blank page that the spark is gone, the words will never return, and that you should have listened to your mom and become a doctor. That’s why I love these words from musician Nick Cave from his blog, The Red Hand Files:

“In my experience, lyrics are almost always seemingly just not coming. This is the tearful ground zero of song writing — at least for some of us. This lack of motion, this sense of suspended powerlessness, can feel extraordinarily desperate for a songwriter. But the thing you must hold on to through these difficult periods, as hard as it may be, is this — when something’s not coming, it’s coming. It took me many years to learn this, and to this day I have trouble remembering it.”

Read Nick’s full blog post here.

Reminds me of a passage from Anne Lamott’s book, Bird By Bird. What does she to fight off writer’s block? She keeps a one-inch picture frame on her desk to remind her that all she has to do is write down as much as she can see through it. One idea. One description. One paragraph. Small exploratory bites that grope and dig toward something worth keeping. 

E.L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”