Octavia Butler on Writing

 I was reading  a friend's blog today and he asked this question. "What causes writers block?"
I don't have a clue, but what I told him was to just write. Even if its just your thoughts or a poem, random ideas from a past story, just write. No matter what it is, it doesn't even have to make sense. Just write something every day and it will help.
 This wasn't my idea. I took it from one of my favorite authors Octavia E. Butler. She once said." First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice.” 

Definition of habit-n
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.
2. customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
3. a particular practice, custom, or usage: the habit of shaking hands.
4. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
5. addiction, especially to narcotics

Writing must become a habit to any writer whether they are experienced or not, if they hope to become successful. And yes, even if they do not.  It’s essential to form a pattern of behavior.  I have found that I have become one with the experience of seating down to write. Even in the dry season of writer’s block, which is rare, I find that with habit I can write something. When someone tells me that they have come to a point that they have nothing to write about.  I find myself questioning their comment to the art form. For me, it has become so involuntary that I find myself waking with a pencil and paper in hand and its the last then I put down at night.

 “You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
Habit will get you passed the bad stuff. Like Octavia said it helps you get better. Even when everyone thinks your work is junk, habit will kick you in the pants and have you working to make the work better. Habit will have you striving toward perfection because it will make you want perfection.

“That which could hunger, could starve.”
It you succumb to writer's block, you can starve your creative nature. Like with anything, the less you use it the less important it becomes to you. We eat at least three times a day, because we need to fuel our bodies, yet we expect to have inspiration to come to us by osmosis. Habit in our writing, is like fuel to our inspiration, it allows your creativity to flow freely.  So I say write. Write the good and the bad, write the ugly and the sad. Write anything, but write everyday, until it becomes habit. Writer's block is starvation to a writer, writing everyday feeds them.

“All struggles are essentially power struggles. Who will rule? Who will lead? Who will define, refine, confine, design? Who will dominate? All struggles are essentially power struggles, and most are no more intellectual than two rams knocking their heads together.”

  Octavia E. Butler

You can find my memorial to this award-winning author on my Tributes page.