Conditions: A Writer’s Perspective
Here are some thoughts I had during a writers' retreat in May, 2019, but it's still as true now.
“I can’t write because…”
Name your problem: space, time, people, inspiration, whatever.
I have heard this, seen this, read this, more times than I care to remember, especially in the last year, since I became active in several FaceBook writing groups.
Sorry, people, but that isn't a reason for not writing, it’s an excuse. And a lame one at that.
Yesterday, I stood in the cottage where Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived for three years with his wife and family. It was by far the worst house in the village. The rooms were small, and the only heating came from a small fire in one room. When the family moved in, the thatched roof was leaking, mice were running riot, and he had no money. Moreover, there were often other people visiting: the Wordsworths, Poole, and so on.
While there, he penned some of the greatest lyrical ballad poems of the age: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kublai Kahn” (sadly incomplete due to that idiot from Porlock, down the coast), to mention but two.
He did this despite the frankly appalling conditions in his home. Cold so bad, for instance, that his son Hartley would cry at night, forcing Coleridge to bring him downstairs to his writing room because it had a fire. The mice I have already mentioned. And how they accommodated their visitors, I shudder to think.
“In Xanadu did Kublai Khan / A stately pleasure dome decree…”
If he could write that in these terrible conditions, then you, sitting in front of your computer in a warm, comfortable home or an air-conditioned office, have no excuse at all.
So, get off your backsides, or on them, as the case may be, and start writing. Even if you can’t create something as wonderful and ethereal as Coleridge did, it will still be far better than the nothing you are producing right now while whining at me.
You are a hoot. I came across your pieces online when researching Annalisa Parent. Thanks for the smiles.
Nah – all that sitting down’s bad for you. I stand in front of a window with laptop propped on the sill and accessory keyboard on one of those single wheeled kitchen unit thingies. The window’s a bit of a distraction though…