Okay, that one’s true. If you were looking for the post that showed you the secret passageway through that hard, painful truth, I’m sorry. It’s not here. But what I can tell you is that I hated it when people used to spout that lovely little adage at me. Like really, truly, lump in my throat hated it. Of course, my response would be all, duh, of course, yeah, writers write i’m a writer. i write. i freaking love to write, why, don’t you? Meanwhile there was a giant pit of tar-bubbly anger the size of France boiling in my gut because, well, I sort of hated writing at the time. Like the physical butt-in-chair write 2,000 words a day act of writing. Yeah, I hated it.
(Author’s note: Please don’t take my Writer’s Club membership yet…please?)
Here’s another one I hated when I was a wee writer: “If you can do anything else but write and be happy, then go do it.”
Umm, let my 5 years past self tell you some things I could have been happy doing other than writing: Watching Friends re-runs, re-reading Harry Potter for the tenth time, watching videos of baby pigs on youtube, eating Cheetos, shopping online, talking to my friends about Teen Mom, actually studying, taking up pilates, joining Junior League, sleeping, getting my haircut more than once every six months, stepping foot in a grocery store…
And these are all totally worthwhile past times (yeah, even that part about Teen Mom, Judgey McJudgerson).
Here’s the thing: I am one of the most hyper-analytical people I know. Maybe you aren’t. Maybe you have the superpower to have a more nuanced view of reality. I don’t know. I do know we writers are a neurotic bunch. So I say this here simply because it’s something I felt once and therefore there’s a chance that maybe it’s something you felt too. Right, so, example: if a doctor asks me how much pain I’m in on a scale from 1-10 and my hand has just been taken off in a meat grinder, I will probably sit there and think, okay, I’m not dying, I’m not going to die in the next minute at least I don’t think, so it’s proooooooobably not a 10, which means it’s probably like an 8–wait no–maybe a 7…you get the picture.
So when someone says to me, “if you can do anything else but write and be happy, then go do it,” what I do is start listing in my head all things above that I could, in fact, do and be happy. This still happens. I could spend time being a better friend, a better wife, cleaning up around the house, working more, making videos, reading, working out. All of these things actually make me quite happy and I could do them. I consider this a good thing actually because it means I’m a happy person, right? But I want to be a writer and an author so badly that I was and am willing to forego a good chunk of each of those things to make it happen. And maybe by virtue of that very action, I proved the freaking adage. Yes, I understand that. But my point is:
It didn’t feel that way.
And so here’s the second thing I want to say. (Or maybe it’s the third–I’m not sure, but I do know I do NOT want to be a mathematician). If getting 150 words out is, like, really freaking hard right now. If you’d rather stare at the wall then write and I’m not talking occasionally but on a regular basis. If you wonder what the hell you are doing. That’s okay. If there is a part of you that just can’t let the dream go, I’ll tell you something. It gets easier. At least for me. I came from that place and I actually look forward to writing now. I like writing. In fact, I feel weird and sort of jittery and sick when I haven’t written something for a few days or a week. Worse if I don’t know what I should be working on. Okay, fine, I’ll just say it: I love writing. Love it.
This isn’t gospel. This may not be true for you or for anyone else. How the hell should I know?
And I’d be remiss to point out that there was a lot of growing and learning what worked for me and why. What I liked and what I didn’t. And there was a lot of sitting in front of a keyboard battling the empty space on the page. But I am SO glad I did. And that’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you. Go forth and write. Or don’t. Whatever you feel, my friends. Hope that helps.