The blocked writer’s pledge

In my elementary school I had to stand with my hand over my heart and  pledge allegiance to the United States of America every morning. This thinly veiled brainwashing of an innocent child was probably intended to raise the odds that I wouldn’t dodge the draft or cheat on my income tax when I matured.

As a writer, you may need a pledge too. It would be nice to not have to go to such lengths, but you may need to make a public commitment to write regularly, because it is so damn easy to not write. Sometimes the prospect of writing feels about as appealing as paying taxes or entering a combat zone, and you’re liable to resist.

As an innocent child in second grade, I didn’t have the intellectual bandwidth to thoughtfully evaluate the moral and psychological implications of the patriotic promise I was making every morning. For better or worse, an authority made me do it. As an adult writer, you have the freedom to ask yourself if writing is something you really want to pledge yourself to. If it is, and time is slipping by with no book, article, story, poem, memoir, dissertation or limerick to show for it, you will suffer.

Making a promise is not a trivial thing, because there are usually distasteful consequences for breaking one. Those negative consequences, however, are useful if the thought of them presses in on our consciousness just enough to bring us to the task we most want to do. Here is my version of the pledge of allegiance for writers:

I pledge allegiance to the written expression of the literary states of my consciousness, and to the daily writing in which my hand, puts one word, after another, for at least 15 minutes a day.  

Something like this, signed and dated on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror may be something to experiment with. The more public you are with your pledge, and the more power it carries, and the more likely you will be to write, with liberty and justice for all.

Now, if I can just convert the Star Spangled Banner into something that helps blocked writers too…

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About David Arnot Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The blocked writer’s pledge

  1. Fakewomen says:

    Love this blog. Also ,As a child
    Mom made us use pledge to clean house. Now I never pledge anything.

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