Writing is literally the most frustrating thing in the world. Here it is like the simplest act you could ever perform, butt in chair, fingers on keyboards, hands-on pens. It takes milliseconds to scribble down a single sentence, so a few thousand more together that make some kind of rough sense seems like it should only be a week or two tops.
All of this you would easily believe to be logical until you’re put in front of a blank page that’s like the merciless vacuum of space sucking out your once endless creative energy. Then it’s just about as logical as when your best friend thinks putting up plastic on old windows would suffocate a house.
Then on top of discovering your deficiencies, all around you are writers who are conquering this insurmountable thing. I’m looking at you the James Pattersons of the world. So ridiculously prolific
When last I blurbed out all over my keyboard in a random post (that is making a lot less sense than it did upon posting) I talked about writing with an earthbender mindset. You just do it. There is no trick, no easy way around but throwing words at it and hoping they stick. But how? How does one just write like they are licensed to do so?
You see, I used to be a James Patterson. I have a four drawer filing cabinet full of all my stories from as early as the second grade when I learned I could successfully communicate via the written word. I used to be the hit of my grade school “Authors Teas” where kids would read from their own works.
So what happened between that doe-eyed kid to the disillusioned adult that is typing to you today? I tell you what, society got a hold of me at my most vulnerable and taught me how easy it is in this world to be wrong. Eventually after learning to play it safe to the point of not doing anything with a less than 100 percent success rate I ended up training myself that everything I did had to be working towards something. Everything had to have purpose, a clear end in sight.
Trouble is, none of the above applies to writing, noveling, or any creative endeavour. Two hours a day working on a project that most likely will not be financially fruitful, if it even gets as far as a first draft.
You could go back to school for two hours a night, go to the gym (god knows I need to), even see a movie. There are hundreds of things more instantly rewarding in the adult world then working on a failing novel.
The problem is, we care. Adults have to care because we have responsibility to ourselves and to society. And fuck, it’s hard enough to just survive the modern world without adding uncertainty of your own free will.
The little girl laying on her stomach on the rug of her fourth-grade classroom doesn’t care. Beyond the minor annoyance of having to be at school five days a week and brushing her teeth, she’s good.
It’s enough that she feels joy here on the carpet with that first draft yellow lined paper in front of her, stapled up so it looks just like a little book. The fact that her story about a misunderstood dragon called Henry is absolutely ridiculous is irrelevant to the fact that she is having fun.
There is no other thought in her head, it’s as simple as that. Holding a pen in her hand and writing down images that she sees in her brain is magic to her. Just having the power to silently transfer what she sees into the brain of another is miraculous.
So the woman that this girl grew into, now laying on her stomach in bed in front of her laptop, is trying to tell you that this is what we need to get back to. Take a moment and remember what it was that brought you to writing in the first place.
Was it love of books, of being able to tell a story in complete silence, or of finding a million words that all mean roughly the same thing? Chances are more likely that you have some warm treasured memory of it just like me.
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