rob mclennan: When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
Spencer Gordon: You just have to wait, to linger in the quotidian. You have to become bored. There is really no point in working at something that does not sustain your interest and excitement. If you are stalled in writing, walk away. Inspiration will find you another day, perhaps when you’ve eaten properly or you’re not so bogged down by the doldrums of rejection and menial labour. God—just write something else. Watch YouTube. Catch up on that soap opera you like. Make a living, for god’s sake. In the intervening time, and when you get a chance, think long and hard about what you are doing, and why. If the interest and excitement do not return, forget about it; any readers you might have will thank you (especially if you read before a live audience).
I like to forget about my writing completely from time to time. All claims that writing is about daily labour and constant suffering is weird protestant work-ethic stuff, and I’m not buying it! Sure—one must write and read a whole lot to get good at it. But people sometimes forget the most important thing: writing is pleasure. It’s about magical worlds and insane fantasies. It’s where you get to indulge the delusions of the heart and hold people enthralled in worlds of your own dastardly creation. Isn’t that beautiful? And given the fact that most writers must work at some other gig just to make rent and sew up their hideous shoes, that beautiful thing that you love to do gets knocked down your list of urgent, worldly priorities. So why are you making it so hard?
- Spencer Gordon, in interview with rob mclennan for his 12 or 20 questions series. You can read the whole thing here.