It’s an incredibly fun word. Not only that, it perfectly encapsulates what it takes to write a novel.
Sitzfleisch: a person’s buttocks… the power to endure or persevere in an activity… By far, the best definition I have seen of this word is simply, butt glue.
Sitzfleisch is what it takes to sit, hour after hour, through inspiration and mental drought, writing and writing and writing some more. It is the number one cure for the dreaded Writer’s Block.
But there’s another strain of Writer’s Block about which we don’t hear as often and for which there is little relief but patience. This strain of Writer’s Block is most accurately called Life.
At times, Life demands our full attention, making Sitzfleisch unattainable. Family, friends, and responsibilities at home and in the community consume the bulk of our time and energy. This isn’t awful, mind you… I firmly believe real, live human beings – especially those we love – should take precedence over even the most delightful friends of our imagining.
Even so, Life, with all of its demands and pleasures, can be as great a block to a writer as lack of inspiration. Sometimes, we simply do not have the time to write… at least not without shirking responsibility or shunning those we love most. And who wants to do that? (Okay, there are a few responsibilities I don’t mind shirking, as evidenced by my laundry pile…) But seriously, people are important. Participating in the world around us is important. Sometimes, writing has to take a back seat.
I’m not sure there’s an easy cure for this strain of Writer’s Block called Life. Certainly, we can make the time to write, but I think sometimes we just have to wait it out, letting plots and characters develop and blossom in our minds until we can revel once again in long-anticipated Sitzfleisch.
As the husband and kids prepare for a weekend of camping with Scouts, Sitzfleisch creeps from the shadows of my mind, like a long-lost friend rumored to be coming home.
Maybe, just maybe, Sitzfleisch is just around the corner.
What do you do when Life, wonderful Life, crushes all attempts at Sitzfleisch?