I have a (self) published series out on Amazon, totalling over 600,000 words. I’m working on my next book. You would think I love to write. And I do! I really do. But when my son came into my writing room (my bedroom, actually) a few days ago, he found me hunched over my laptop, gnashing my teeth, despair on my face.
“I thought you like to write,” he said.
“I do,” I said. “I really do.”
“Then why are you so sad?”
“I’m not sad,” I said. “I’m just trying to figure out the way through this scene I’m working on, and it’s not coming.”
My son turned and moved back to the door. “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.”
Wise words from a teenager? Nope. If I were to listen to that kind of sage advice, I’d never have published anything.
First of all, let me be clear. I love to write. Let me say it again. I. Love. To. Write.
But then sometimes I really hate it. I feel like throwing the laptop against the wall and relaxing into a life of blissful reading. Just sitting there and reading. (Not that there’s anything wrong with reading. I do a lot of it. But like it says in the Book of Proverbs, there’s a time to read, and there’s a time to write. Or something like that.)
Writing is hard work. When the ideas are flowing and your fingers can’t keep up with the movie playing in your head, it’s great. That may be the image most people have of writing, but it rarely works like that for me. There are times when I have to force myself into my chair, force my fingers to turn on the laptop, type in the password, slide in the flashdrive, find the file and open it. Each step of the way is torture. And then the file opens, and it’s time to write. If I can just get myself to that point, fingertips in contact with the keyboard, I’ve won most of the battle. Some people would look at me and conclude that I hate to write.
And they’d be right.
I’m an expert at finding excuses to not write. I need to check my email. I need to check Twitter. How many books have I sold today? How’s my website looking? What about the news? I better read a few articles. Everyone needs to know what’s going on in the world. What about the stock market? When’s the last time I called my mom. Better talk to her now. On and on. And then the hour or two set aside for writing slips away with nothing done.
I have this love/hate relationship to this craft. It really is the strangest thing. Maybe I’m the only one. But I doubt it.
What I’ve learned is to be a zombie. A robot. An entity totally without feeling. Whatever it takes to force myself to move to the writing chair. And then just push through it. The first minute is the hardest. If I can get through that, the rest is easier. There will be glorious breakthroughs when I feel like I’ve just scaled Mount Everest. There will be hours of slogging through the jungle, machete in hand, hacking my way to the end of a chapter. Or a paragraph.
People say, “You must really love to write!”
I just smile and say, “Can’t get enough of it.”