There is No Good Time to Write

A macho scrivener once said to me that the difference between a professional writer and an an amateur is that the amateur writes when he’s in the mood, the professional writes every day.

And yet, no matter what you do, the writing happens.

One of my favorite inspirational quotes comes from Morton Feldman, a composer whose work I heard during a concert at Oberlin: “For years, I said if I could only find a comfortable chair I would rival Mozart.

How long have I looked for such a comfy chair! The one in which I sit isn’t bad, in that I don’t think about it that much.

What I get from that quote is a sour reflection on the years when I grumbled, groaned, despaired and just gave up on ever finding the equivalent of that chair. I never thought I’d rival the great writers. I just wanted to join the club. I imagined that, some day, if I just kept writing, I would.

Now I’m coming back to the understanding that there is never a “good” time to write. That is, you’re never going to do all the research, indulge all the preparatory exercises, gain all the education or the experience, read all the great books, have a “room of one’s own” that is quiet, clean, well-lighted, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, with just the right music and, maybe, a computer that doesn’t crash.

You have to start from incompleteness, imperfection, inexperience, ignorance. You go forward.

The writing brings completion, perfection, experience and, if you’re lucky, that special bit of wisdom that reminds you why you were born.



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