Keep The Pen Moving
Alright punchers, you've had enough of a break. It's time to get cracking.
We here at punchup.com.au have been talking and we've decided that we're going to be doing a fitness drive in 2020. New year, new you. Not physical fitness (although we're strong advocados of that too) but writing fitness.
The only way to get better as a writer is to write. Writing is a muscle. Just like a muscle, to make it improve, you need to work it to the point where it starts to break, so that your body rebuilds it bigger and stronger than before.
Writing is also the number one cure for writer's block.
'Well duh' you say, and I can see your point, but there's more to it.
When someone says they have writer's block, that they 'can't write', it doesn't mean that they're incapable of writing. They're just having trouble writing the thing they're supposed to be writing.
When you have writer's block you're more than capable of writing. You can write a shopping list. You can write an email. You can write random words and gibberish on paper. There's nothing physically wrong with the process. It's all in your head.
Which is great news, because it means that fixing it is all in your head too.
To beat writer's block, to improve as a writer, to stay fit - all of this requires one thing. You keep the pen moving. You keep writing. Write good words. Write bad words. Write words you just made up. Keep doing that and eventually, your muscle memory will kick in and you'll remember how to write. The real words will come and they'll flow out of your brain and on to the paper like honey wrapped in silk.
There's a story that the great Hunter S Thompson used to beat his own writer's block by getting out a typewriter and copying, word for word, The Great Gatsby
Hunter S Thompson went on to become one of the greatest writers of all time. Someone I often turn to for inspiration myself.
In this spirit, I'll leave you with a little Uncle Hunter that I've often used to light a fire under myself and get the pen moving. I've used it to kick start this post even.
(I'll transcribe it below)
In 1973 one Anthony Burgess, author of none other than A Clockwork Orange was working as a freelance journalist in Italy for Rolling Stone magazine, who had commissioned him to write a thinkpiece. Finding himself uncomfortably close to a deadline and with nothing to show for his efforts, Burgess wrote to his editor asking if instead of the agreed-upon thinkpiece he could instead submit an earlier work, a "50,000-word novella I've just finished, all about the condition humane etc. Perhaps some of that would be better than a mere thinkpiece."
Unfortunately for Anthony Burgess his editor was none other than Hunter S Thompson.
The reply is nothing short of excoriating. Even for Hunter.
"Dear Mr Burgess,
Herr Wenner has forwarded your useless letter from Rome to the National Affairs Desk for my examination and/or reply.
Unfortunately, we have no International Gibberish Desk, or it would have ended up there.
What kind of lame, half-mad bullshit are you trying to sneak over on us? When Rolling Stone asks for "a thinkpiece," goddamn it, we want a fucking Thinkpiece... and don't try to weasel out with any of your limey bullshit about a "50,000-word novella about the condition humane etc..."
Do you take us for a gang of brainless lizards? Rich hoodlums? Dilettante thugs?
You lazy cocksucker. I want that Thinkpiece on my desk by Labor Day. And I want it ready for press. The time has come & gone when cheapjack scum like you can get away with the kind of scams you got rich from in the past.
Get your worthless ass out of the piazza and back to the typewriter. Your type is a dime a dozen around here, Burgess, and I'm fucked if I'm going to stand for it any longer.
Hunter S. Thompson"
And he was right. He was write. So I've decided to get my ass out of the piazza for this year and back to the typewriter. If you're with me then stay tuned.
Keep the pen moving.
Who wants to live forever?
Written to: Klendathu Drop (Starship Troopers Official Soundtrack) - Basil Poledouris