Feel like hiding out
No sign of comfort yet
Have a nap while no ones looking
Bring some inspiration to the man
In my head
A namesake out of reach
Strange days upon us now
We leave the dust of conversation
Hanging in the light above the bed
Leave me now
Cos tonight its driving me mad
I guess I’ll be all right
But tonight it’s driving me mad
Driving me mad – Neil Finn
I think all writers – of every genre and form – can relate to these words. I was recently listening to this song while working on a writing project and was just struck by how, even though Mr. Finn is most likely referring to writing music, I sympathized with his feelings. If you’ve read my first Writerly Words post, you’ll know that there is an extremely apropos descriptor for those of us who find ourselves so enamored with the written word to the point of being nearly consumed by the desire to write, and that word is “scripturient.”
This is not a word that restricts itself to applicability to only one type of writer. It is not an adjective for novelists. It is not an adjective for literary fiction writers. It is not limited to non-fiction writers. Or poets. Or playwrights. Or screenwriters. Or lyricists.
It belongs to all of us, across every field, form, genre and generation.
I may not know Neil Finn personally – one would be so blessed – but I can tell you without ever meeting him that we have one major commonality: we are scripturient, and that alone gives a sort of common ground kinship and understanding that I believe is one of the best side effects of being a writer. The world of writing is a community, at least in the best of circumstances, and is one of the best, dare I say, interests that easily brings people together across boundaries of race, status, sphere and location. Knowing other writers keeps you sharper, keeps your creative muscles flexing and gives you a check valve for letting off steam about the frustrations of the writing process; because, like anything worth devoting any significant portion of your life and energy to, writing is full of frustrations and setbacks and hurdles.
Which is why the lyrics above resonated with me so much. I completely understand the urge to hide from the calling to write at times,from deadlines self-imposed – my brain goes to the ever-impending NaNoWriMo – or imposed by those to whom we must answer, to just want to escape and take a nap to recharge my batteries when it starts to feel too much like work to write. And I think that is exactly what we need to do sometimes.
Again, look at the words Neil Finn penned: “Take a nap while no one’s looking/Bring some inspiration to the man/In my head.” Take a break to regain inspiration. And apparently, that worked for him, for check out the poetry of the following line: “We leave the dust of conversation/Hanging in the light above the bed.” How beautiful is that imagery?
So take comfort in the fact that you are not alone when you feel like giving up or running away. We all feel that at times. It is okay to take a step back, or even walk away for awhile. Work on a different project for a few days, if your current one feels like it isn’t working. Pray; spend time talking to the Author and Finisher of our faith and read His Word. Take some time to read something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what you are writing. Listen to your favorite album. Watch a movie – or three. Reading and watching movies or television shows and listening to music is not necessarily a waste of writer’s time, for, even if you aren’t aware of it, you are studying the craft of writing.
And remember: even though tonight it’s driving you mad, you will be alright. So take a breath. Come back later. And when you do, I think you’ll find you’ve gained that inspiration you were missing when you first felt the urge to run.
Driving Me Mad was written by Neil Mullane Finn. Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. It appears on the album One Nil http://neilfinn.com/albums/solo/?album=498