Writer’s Desk: Get Past the Terror

Detroit, Michigan. Art director and copy writer at a large advertising agency

David Simon (Homicide, The Wire, The Deuce) on writing the character of Creighton on Treme, a frustrated novelist who committed suicide:

… there were some underlying fears that as a creative soul Creighton had shot his bolt. That fear is probably latent in every writer. You stare at the page for the first time and if you’re honest at all, you know there’s a little part of you screaming, “But what if I can’t do it anymore?” And then you start writing, and usually the first things are not great, and then you try again and eventually you’re off and running. But every time, there’s that first moment of vague terror.

It’s not that every writer has actually experienced terror at the idea that they couldn’t do the work anymore. There must be plenty who have happily floated past such worries.

But it is almost certainly true that a person who doesn’t understand the concept of being stricken in the soul over being unable to create, must not in the end have ever truly been a writer.

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