Lessons in writing
Most authors I’ve had the pleasure of reading interviews with have said that one of the hardest aspects of writing is sitting down to do it. In addition, and perhaps even worse, you have to put up with writing a lot of garbage (and reading it) before you write something really good. I’ve spent my life simultaneously writing, and avoiding writing. I’ve kept a journal since I was able form letters into words with some sort of writing implement. I’ve let thousands of stories come and go, or languish in said journals due to my dread of having to actually revise them. Confronting the “crap” that many of us start out writing has kept me from an art form that is my greatest passion. Given the choice of watching television or reading a book, I’d choose the book 99.9% of the time. When I was in elementary school I would walk to and from school reading, and even read during lunch at home. (much to my Mom’s frustration – sorry Mom!) Yes, it was an escape but it was also the words. Words are glorious, amazing, and completely inadequate at times. Spending hours fretting over a relatively small number of letters as you try to capture the essence of an experience is your daily task. It is a type of insanity!
I read the work of successful authors (published and able to make their living doing it), and it all looks so seamless. Then (as I wrote above) I hear them speak or read an interview, and find out they have had to do the same thing I struggle with – except they actually DO it! What’s more they put themselves out there and face rejection, bad (or cruel) reviews, and KEEP doing it. Writing (and the arts in general) has to be one of the most difficult “jobs” there is. You have to be brave to be a writer, and writers who put out several books a year are my heroes and heroines.
My disabled son is stuck upstairs waiting for me to come up and help him start his day. That tension of wanting to keep writing but knowing he needs me is indescribable. I know, it should be easy. Go upstairs, help him as he needs, and THEN come down and finish this. There are writers who can do this, certainly. Unfortunately, I tend to be emotionally labile and my head may be in a completely different place by the time I get back to this. Of course he will win out because I love him, and I try to be a decent Mom, if not a decent writer. So, I lift my iced coffee in celebration of all the literary giants, and unheard of nobodies, who take a crack at this craft. To quote Tiny Tim from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, “God Bless Us Every One!”
“I’m coming son – sorry!!!”