You can write. Anyone can write.

Writing is not, as you have sometimes been led (and allowed yourself to be led) to believe, a mysterious inspirational gift bestowed from beyond. It is not something that can be granted or taken away on a whim (inducing much unnecessary panic and fear). To believe this fabrication is to allow yourself to give in to a mental construct the chief weapon of which is founded in a cloud of irrationality and whose malevolent agenda springs primarily from your own laziness. It’s fascinating, really, and at length we shall discuss it, but it introduces the question of the problem of structure (which is mildly more legitimate). Back to the tirade.

Nothing is like this; art is not like this, music is not like this, writing no different. The inspiration of the arts is a blanket under which many like to hide. It bestows an unassailable value upon positions that otherwise might seem difficult to defend (Unassailable because of its nebulousness, of course. Ever tried to assault the cloud of methane that wafts away from a dairy farm? It’s difficult, and distasteful). All of this is well and good, mind you. Everyone needs to stake out their little corner of the earth against all enemies, and if the coincidences of economics haven’t granted you a paycheck that you can use as a weapon then by god, you’d better find something else. Eating is also an issue, and assuming that you haven’t gotten the conspiracy of your profession mixed up with simple snobbery it can greatly assist is acquiring a piece, if not a large one, of that financial mace.

No, the problem occurs when we take this too far, when we believe our own stories too much, to the point where they switch from being a self-glorfying illusion to an immobilizing fatalism. Don’t believe anything too much, no matter how right it may be. Because, really, it’s not. Nothing is right (or, in the words of weird Al, Everything You Know is Wrong). Not even what I’m writing here about writing is right. And with that admonishment, let me send some truisms flying your way.

Practice makes perfect. Practice allows the craft person to hone his or her craft and after 2000 hours, or whatever level Bach was at when he wrote his first masterpiece, you get good at it. So keep writing, and keep writing everything, because it’s exactly by not writing that you are going to get precisely no where.

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