The first is writing is hard work. Anyone who tells you different is either lying or not a writer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a novel or a back cover blurb, a short story or a 500-word magazine article. Writing is hard. It requires discipline and creativity, time and research, and most of all a love of the game. If you don’t love to write, if the process itself isn’t an intrinsic part of who you are, writing isn’t just hard, it’s near impossible.
When you are a writer, the writing–both the process and the end product–fill your mind whether you are at the computer typing actual words or in the shower or driving to the grocery store. Characters talk to you and they don’t much care if you’re trying to listen to the sermon on Sunday morning or trying to pick out a decent steak at the meat counter, or trying to go to sleep. Nearly every writer I know keeps a notebook and pencil next to their bed because when you wake up at 2:47 a.m. with the perfect line of dialogue for your characters in your head, if you don’t write it down, it’ll be gone when you get up in the morning. And we can’t risk that because the words, the perfect words, are precious.
Writers write–all the time. Husband will testify to countless meals where I’ve been physically present across the table, but mentally in River’s Edge trying to get my characters to bend to my will or at least to understand why they want to go a different way than I had planned. Sometimes, dear Husband gets to process a sticky plot point with me (what a lucky guy!), but mostly, I save processing for bestie Liz in our daily G-Chats. Point being, the stories are always there, the people in my head are always present, clamoring for attention.
The second thing is quicker and way less cerebral. Often our fingers don’t cooperate with our brains. Every writer I know has typos that happen in their writing–the same ones over and over again–mostly because their brains are about six to eight words ahead of their fingers. Common ones are hte for the; every when you mean ever; off when you mean of; it’s when you mean its and of course its when you actually do mean it’s. You get the picture. Thus the need for my other life as a copy editor. Oh, the things I’ve seen!
Sometimes fingers have a mind of their own. This morning, I sent Liz a G-Chat note that said, And now I need to write my Sunday Snoppet. Immediately I added, or Snippet. But there it was–a typo, and Liz’s response was Actually, you could write about typing foibles. Snoppet has a ring to it… And, voila, a blog post was born. Sometimes, although rarely, it’s just that easy, but most times, it’s not. Writing is hard work.
Writer Anne Stuart once said, “Everything in my life is filtered through my writing. There is no me without it.” Yes to this, yes a thousand times. When you are a writer, it isn’t what you do, it’s who you are.
Gratitude for this week: nuclear heart testing is done; I’m writing; tooth pain is slowly subsiding; Son and I made reservations for our Hawaii trip; I binged Season 3 of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS Passport with Husband this week and it was lovely.
Stay well, stay safe, be kind to someone, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful,