So many of my close friends are writers. Most are published, a few are waiting for the big call, but we all write. Some of us more than others.
My friend Sinclair has been working like a madwoman to get her first book bought–she’s been in writing hell for years–getting requests for completes, madly finishing books, or revising on the request of an editor, only in the end to have the book be not quite right.
The not quite right can torture a writer.
Another great friend of mine, Lilian Darcy, in Australia just emailed me remarking that when the writing goes well, she feels fantastic, and when the writing isn’t going as well, her spirits just sink. She wanted to know if I felt the same.
The truth is, I’m a great writer when I’m writing hard and fast and furious. I’m a terrible writer when anticipating writing hard and fast and furious. I avoid writing like the plague. And inevitably, after I turn a book in and I’m feeling a little burned out, I don’t write again for a few weeks to a month and when its time for me to finally write again, I feel like a woman who has to go on a diet. I dread writing because I dread having to slow down, sit down, focus, concentrate, think hard, think long. It’s….work. And like going on a diet, or returning to the gym after weeks (or months) away, its uncomfortable. It’s scary. It’s…deprivation.
I like being a wild child. I like being rebellious. I like refusing responsibility and marching around in my cowboy boots, stomping my feet, playing music too loud and putting my fingers in my ears and going nah-nah-nah-nah whenever maturity talks to me. Unfortunately, maturity is what pays the bills and discipline keeps a roof over my head and responsibility means I (eventually) tell the wild child to sit down, be quiet, and behave.
But writing means facing fear and writing means confronting risk and possibly failure and that’s all so…heavy. Potentially depressing. Potentially enlightening and insightful and oh–why go there? Why learn about the self? Why learn about one’s flaws and shortcomings and unflattering qualities? Because that’s when we become honest. And real. Writing reveals truth. Writing reveals the self. Writing, like other art forms, is about spirit, and soul.
I’m still in writing avoidance mode lately–not good–and Lilian, yes, I do feel crummy on the inside when the writing doesn’t go well, or when I’m not sucking it up and making myself sit down and get the words on paper. But the challenge of finding the discipline, and then the difficulty in finding the right words and true story, is sometimes overwhelming.
That’s when I garden. Bake. Scrapbook. And I’ve been doing some serious scrapbooking lately. But soon I’ll write.
Because it’s what I do. And it’s who I am.
And oh yes, it’s how I keep a roof over my kids head.