Writer’s block is only a failure of the ego. – Norman Mailer
We discussed this quote last night in one of my classes and, while I’m sure I’ve heard it before, it was especially fitting for me at the moment. I’ve been working on a lengthier piece (I almost hate to call it a novel since all novel attempts for the past 11 years have tanked in one way or another) and I’m constantly trying to edit myself as I go.
This is certainly not good for the ego as the first step of revision is realizing everything you’ve written is terrible. Or, as Hemingway so eloquently put it, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Therefore, since the hit to one’s ego is inevitable, I might as well put it off until I’ve come to a point where I THINK the story is finished. Then, once I go back and revise, I’ll realize it’s all awful. But that will be okay, because it’s only the first draft.
Happy writing, if you write, happy reading, if you read. And if you do neither–think about picking one up. I suggest reading if you enjoy your sanity.
5 thoughts on “The Failure of the Ego”
The ideas are always wonderful when they’re in your head, unsullied by your stupid, clumsy hands that seem incapable of recreating what you imagined. Sometimes it’s easier to leave the ideas there where they are still perfect, than trying to write them down and risk fucking them up. Still, you gotta try!
As Hemingway also said, “Writing is easy. Just sit down at your typewriter and bleed.”
Often I have to force myself to just “Stop!” when I start to write and end up revising as I go. 1. It’s a time-waster 2. It’s terribly demoralizing. Good luck with your lengthier piece!
That’s exactly what I’m having to do! And it wastes SO much time. Thank you, thank you!
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