Friday, February 14, 2014

On Writing: Someone has to do it

Someone has to do it.
Someone has to take what they love and make a go of it.

- C. J. Omololu

Look, I get it. It's hard, really fucking hard, to keep your life going and still create. When I've put in a full day at the day job, dealt with a busy commute, only to get home and do dishes, laundry, and grocery shopping, the last thing I want to do is sit down and do more work. I want to finish that bottle of wine in the fridge and watch TV and fall asleep at eight oclock.

But I can't. And you can't.

Because if you're anything like me, all you can think about while watching TV is the story. How I'm not writing, and I'm settling for this other world when I want to be thinking about my world. How the characters work against each other, how the plot is all wrong, how I want to add a few more painful bricks to this thing that doesn't make any sense yet and is only partially moving toward the vision I have in my head.

But I keep sitting there, because I'm tired and it's hard to cut your soul every night trying to find a little bit of truth in a fantastical story.

And then I beat myself up about it, and feel even worse.

And this, right here, is the pivotal moment. Maybe I get up to write something. Maybe that little bit of something is enough to quell the fire inside me for the night, maybe it's all shit and I feel no better and I go back to watching TV. But the point is I have to try. I have to try. I have to realize that unless I am growing, and learning, and working toward The End, and creating, that the rest of it will only drag me down.

It isn't a bad thing to want to watch TV. As a matter of fact, there are several shows I love and I never miss an episode and they are amazing works of art. They refill me. It definitely isn't a bad thing to want to hang out with a significant other, to do nothing else but talk of funny things and play with each other's fingertips and eat ice cream right out of the container until it melts into soup. It's a wonderful thing to share with someone.

But understand, these things mean more when your soul is growing. When you know, deep in your heart, that you are working toward something. That you are making your mark on the world.


When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me all the time that I was a glutton for punishment. Well, yeah. I was always getting into trouble. I never thought before I acted, I just did things. Like throwing a softball into the air in a crowd of people, over and over until I hit someone in the head (yeah, that happened). Or daring my little brother he couldn't catch a nickel in his mouth, until he did and swallowed it and had to spend the afternoon at the hospital getting x-rays (yeah, I did that, too).

My point is, I seem to want to make myself miserable. I need to make myself miserable. I didn't decide to become a writer, I am a writer. There is always something missing in my day, something I didn't do that I know I should have, until I finally sit down and carve some words out of stone. It's not until that happens that I can finally relax for the night. And carving into stone is exactly what it feels like sometimes. Sometimes, it takes exactly that long. Two hours of work and struggle and only 200 words to show for it.


I realize, after reading everything I've written so far, that I still need to explain something. I am still far from perfect. I still let myself get paralyzed, be it by fear or laziness, and I let the writing slide. I'll do it tomorrow. No. I should be doing it right now. It isn't about the end game, the finished product, it's about the journey, and figuring out how to keep the rest of my life sane while I'm doing it. Because if I'm not working on it, I'm missing something. Even with everything else wonderful in my life, I still need this. I have to do it.

So just own up, sit down, and do the work. Even when it hurts. You'll feel better having worked on it, and then you can truly relax and appreciate everything else.

Until tomorrow. Then you have to do it again.


A few articles I've read recently, that all led up to this post:
The Days When You Don't Feel Like Writing, by Chuck Wendig 
Reader of the Month: February, via
Holly West: Five Things I've Learned Writing Mistress of Fortune, via (she feels the same way I do!)

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