Poking Out Your Eyes with a Flaming Stick

I just read this quote from Bruce Balfour, and it cracked me up:

“Writing a novel is a lot like poking out your own eyes with a flaming stick. A ‘real’ writer will develop the discipline to do it anyway, instead of just talking about the story to anyone within hearing range. Unfortunately, this requires spending time alone with yourself. Locking yourself in a room without distractions is usually the best course… Don’t fear the flaming stick; your eyes will grow back the next day.”

Everyone poking your eyes out, raise your hand. Good. Give yourself a pat on the back.

This is confession week. Here’s my confession:

I had plans for March. March had plans of it’s own. Despite this, I spent most of my days blinded by the flaming stick. And those days I wasn’t, I missed the poking.

I have plans for April. To reach my goals, I’m going to have to make some sacrifices. This is always the hardest part for me, turning down invitations and social interaction in order to stay home and poke myself in the eyes.

Over coffee the other day, I talked to Oh Captain My Captain about this. “Is it worth it?” I asked. “Spending all the time alone with no guarantee what you’re writing will ever get published?”

“Do you enjoy writing?”

“Of course.”

“Then it’s worth it.”

He’s like the blind sage. Been poking himself with that flaming stick for years and years.

I want to be like him. Do you?

Here’s a knife for sharpening your stick. And some matches to light it.