The Creative Person’s Natural State
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of writerly advice, what would it be?
I know exactly what mine would be:
When the old white guy reviewers call you prolific like it’s a dirty word, laugh your head off. And when they don’t get what you’ve written, take it as a good sign.
That should about do it.
Luckily, I found these words by Hélène Cixous at some point:
“Oddly enough, I notice that fecundity is often a cause for reproach. I've always found it extraordinary that fecundity or fertility is often something critics accuse certain people of.”
“Fecundity is the creative person’s natural state. The more pertinent question is that of what inhibits it. Why does one get periods of broken productivity? What causes these interruptions? Productivity, it has to be said, has no reason to be broken except through adverse, exterior circumstances.......But there are also private accidents, internal dramas, personal tragedies. We could put this to all the writers of the twentieth century, and ask them what it was that made them able or unable, to write when they had the desire to. The possibility of publication is a major factor. I realize that I'm quite sheltered when it comes to that, given that I have a generous publisher who publishes my work unconditionally. That means that I don't have that suffocating influence on thought that says, “what's the point in writing when it won't be published?” I’m privileged. My fictional texts are published regularly.”
So today, I’m here to tell you: INHABIT YOUR NATURAL STATE.
Write everything. Follow everything that is interesting to you. If you write more than can be published, open a file titled: OVERFLOW. You will be so glad for that file some day. Write in journals, diaries, on napkins, scraps of paper, write on blogs, or if you prefer, Twitter. Write about what you care about and what you don’t care a jot about. Work things through, air them out, pour your heart out, scream, yell, sing, and do it all with sorrow and joy and all the pain and delight you can squeeze out, and then laugh and write and laugh some more. And also, do me a favour, while you’re getting all this stuff down, call yourself honey, call yourself sweetheart. Be as tender as you can with yourself and your writing. But also be relentless and precise and rake those words over the coals and make them as perfect as you bloody can. After that, just love them. And yourself. Then: send them out as you would a love letter to that fiercely beautiful recipient who is out there somewhere waiting.