A Strange and Mystic Business, Writing

The best writers prove they’re the best even when writing about how hard writing is for them. Witness this quote from John Steinbeck:

I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straitening shyness that assail one. It is as though the words were not only indelible but that they spread out like dye in water and color everything around them. A strange and mystic business, writing. (Quote by John Steinbeck)

And this from a man who created some of the most beautiful writing, some of the most memorable characters, and some of the most heart-wrenching stories of the twentieth century.

Meanwhile, today instead of writing, I’ve been engaged in “the writing life.” It started when I spotted a link in my Twitter feed to a nice article by Lauren Sapala, “5 Simple Tips for the Writer’s Website.” The tips are all worth implementing; in fact, most of them are things I’ve been advocating among my writing friends for some time—although, when I took a closer look, I found my own site didn’t actually have all the elements I’d been recommending. Ooops! 

It didn’t take much time to make the updates—but time it did take. During that process, somehow I got involved in about three different email conversations, a couple things going on in Facebookland, and managed to open so many browser tabs that I’d forgotten what most of them were for. Although somewhere in there I found that Steinbeck quote, which I think is quite beautiful and resonant, so I guess it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

One of the things Lauren Sapala remarks on in her article is that writers sometimes forsake posting to their blogs because coming up with fresh content regularly seems to become a burden. I can relate to feeling like all posts need to be remarkable and have lasting value—but that’s not the reality of the Internet we have.

Yes, I’m alive; therefore, I will post. And meanwhile, I’ve managed to put off putting down that first line of actual writing for most of the day. Hmm, something’s still not right here . . .

Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins


2 thoughts on “A Strange and Mystic Business, Writing

    1. bkwins Post author

      That’s so true. You never know what’s going to strike a chord with someone. (And if you need help with that Follow button, you know how to reach me.)



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