Yes, indeed, writing takes practice. And practice is often tiresome. Even boring. Practice makes . . . more practice. Morning pages after morning pages. Day after day. Practice provides tons of material for That Inner Critic: "That all too familiar voice inside us that wants to shut the whole party down. Don’t do it! It’s not safe! You suck at this! Retreat!" (Andrea Scher in Brave Blogging)
The image above is from my Facebook page, and it's perfect for the discussion at Brave Blogging about the voice that stops us. Stops us from putting pen to paper; stops us from keeping the pen moving across the page. Andrea says, "The most important thing is to notice the voice when it’s there and name it." And I know this. Decades ago, I decided to see it as a tiny, ferocious kitten, hissing and spitting. Let's call her Spits.
Spits tells me I've passed my peak; that I never did peak; that this is all a pointless exercise; that I'll never be in the ranks of the best so why bother; that poetry does not matter; that poems are meaningless in these critical, dangerous times; and that I should be doing something useful with my time.
And that this, whatever I'm writing at the moment, is shit. Which, of course, I remind myself, it is.
Compost. I learned about that, I think, from Peter Elbow. Or maybe Natalie Goldberg. I no longer remember. But I do remember: Compost. Without it, what grows will be weak and spindly. With it, what grows may be strong and robust, substantive. And I want to grow something. Something substantive.
I want to grow poems. I want them.
So I practice.