Write Anyway

It’s only the sixth day of January and I’ve run out of things to write about. How is that possible? I felt good those first five days. Going strong. Ideas flowing, energy moving, words spilling onto the page. But, today the reality of writing has set in. I love writing, but writing is hard.

On New Year’s Eve I told a group of new friends that I write a blog about writing. People laughed. Hahahaha. Writing about writing. Something about that seemed funny. But, people need writing about writing because anyone who writes knows how diffiicult it is. Anyone who writes knows the strength, endurance, and dedication it takes to fight through monkey mind, fight through procrastination, fight through the vulnerablity of putting their honest soul, heart, and life on the page. This is why writer’s need writing about writing. Because we need to know someone has done it before us and survived. We need the support because writing is hard.

I was talking to a dear friend about writing. She is a fellow writer and a tremendously gifted one at that. When I hear her writing it sounds as if it flows from her pen and onto the page without effort. But, I know better. I know the struggle it is to get words on the page. Whether written or typed. She told me how much she loves having a finished piece of writing, it’s the actual writing part that is difficult. That’s the part we all want to skip. I understood her completely. I said, “Yes, I’ll be so happy when I finally finish my thesis. It will be so nice to see the finished, bound book.” I paused for a moment before I continued, “Too bad it will be covered in blood.”

What I meant was that writing (good writing) is a painful process. It is a birthing process. We begin with an idea that sets the soul on fire, but somewhere in the writing we become terrified. We stare at that page and want to run away in horror. And many of us run away for a good amount of time, but people who can’t shake writing from their bones no matter how difficult it is feel extreme guilt when they step away from the page. They may be sitting down to dinner with friends and family enjoying a glass of champagne (as I did this evening), appearing to be having a wonderful time, but inside their minds they can’t stop thinking about how they should be sitting at home in front of that horrifying blank page. Gene Fowler, American author and screenwriter said, “Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Eventually, the writer has to get back to that page.

This is me. Tired. Needing to call my best friend. Wanting to go to sleep. Afraid of the honesty that spills onto the page and writing anyway.   


5 thoughts on “Write Anyway

  1. I read a great story once (now of course I can’t remember who wrote it) about a writer who struggled with writing until one day he went out for an errand, came back in because he had forgotten his keys, saw the typewriter and sat down and started writing productively. He was so excited! From then on, that became his writing process: he would get dressed, put on his coat and hat, walk out of his house down the block, then turn around, rush in the door, and without taking off his coat sit down at the typewriter for “five” minutes. I think he finished a whole book this way.

    That story made me think: we are insane. Really, it is a disorder, this writing thing we have. Chronic, like a nerve condition.

    I have Marge Piercy’s quote about my desk because while it always depresses me it also makes me feel better at the same time:

    “Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.” Here’s her whole brilliant wonderful poem: http://isak.typepad.com/isak/2009/09/work-is-its-own-cure.html

  2. Have you thought about taking a Sabbath once a week (maybe you already do)? Taking this break will let our minds recharge and fill with things to write about after the Sabbath.

  3. Your writing always moves me – so much honesty, vulnerability and courage. No matter where you land, we are cheering you on – delighted with whatever form your writing takes, as offerings to the world.

  4. Melissa, I understand something of how you feel: by the end of December I was burned out on my blog — couldn’t think of anything to write about for it, Then I went to music camp for five days: all I needed was a break.

    Writing is easy for me — really easy and mostly fun. What is hard for me is to complete projects and stay with one until the end.

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