December 27th, 2004

Writers Block
By James Castwell

He sits at his desk in pajamas and bathrobe, five day beard, wastebasket overflowing with crumpled sheets of typing paper. Vapid eyes staring blankly at yet another blank sheet in the old manual typewriter. His mind is numb, wrung-out, devoid and squoze of thought.

Imagine having a job that you never knew when you would get paid and or how much or where the next job might be. And it was mostly up to you. And you had damn little control over it. Fun stuff. Most folks call it 'writing for a living.' Nothing to it really. Depending on how you handle it. Freelance. Shoot from the hip. Crank out stuff and submit it everywhere. Risky business, easy to starve that way.

Only work on 'assignments.' Great, where do you get those? Not a bad way, spotty and hard to land. There are several other ways to go broke and/or starve in the writing business. Someday I may list more of them just for fun. Not right now though.

What if you were a writer though, just what if you had to come up with an idea about fly fishing once a week. Just one idea. Nothing fancy, earthshaking, revolutionary, a simple idea which may possibly be of some help to a fair sized percentage of those who have nothing else better to do than read what you write each week.

Ok, so what will you write about for your second week? And yet, there are those who seem to be able to do it, column after column, week after week, year after year.

What happens when they get to the end. When they have said it all. When they can not think of one darn thing they have not said. Well, they better, huh? To be creative one needs a free and open mind, no pressure or stress. Even the little things of everyday life need to be in order. No big bills, no one sick, no major problems. Trust me, it is not like that. That is a fantasy. But. No ideas = No writing = No money = Starvation! That is to be avoided at all costs.

On that subject, this morning we were on the phone with one of the guys who writes for us on a regular basis. He is not out of ideas, but from time to time it's good to touch base's with each other. During the conversation it came up to write about questions not answers. Heck, we all have questions and, at least for myself, darn few answers; just re-read many of my past columns to prove that.

When a fishing writer is getting down to the bottom of his barrel of nifty thoughts, he can do a couple of things. Best is get out there. Go fishing! The other is read. Read anything on fishing or fly-fishing. Sooner or later a spark will ignite and off you go. You will either agree or not with the author. Bingo, there is your story.

For instance how about this? A day or so ago, in a hard cover book, a line jumped out at me. Roughly quoting, 'since trout seem to pay so much more attention to the various aspects of a dry fly, why do so many guys spend so much time on the details of a nymph?'

Oh no you don't! I'm not stepping into that trap. Which one? No thank you. My question is this. Do they? Do trout really pay any attention to the colors, hues, ribbing, tails, hackle on a dry more than on a nymph or a wet fly? I have no idea. At this point in the game I prefer to fish dry if at all possible so I will say I think that the attitude on the water, the size and hue of the fly are about all that is important. Presentation of course is another matter.

When it comes to something under the surface, nymphs and wets, they should get a much better look at it. Many seem to think so. I bet this question could start a few bar-fights if handled properly. Just take one side or the other in a watering hole in Roscoe, NY and then duck under the nearest table; better yet, hit the door running.

There are the 'impressionists' in both camps. Wet and dry. And there are the 'imitationists' as well. Both styles will fool trout wet and dry. So what is all the fuss about? Are we being silly about high priced fancy tying materials? Just what the heck are we doing anyway?

There, I got through another one. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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