Writing: Everything But Words

A few weeks ago I self-imposed a new Tuesday night policy:

From 7:00-10:00 every Tuesday nighteth, thou shalt not concerneth thyself with anything but writing. Eth.”

Pretty simple. And I decided to do this for a simple reason, too.

I talk about writing. I read. I read about writing. I think about writing. I plan for writing. And what’s more, since starting Precariosities–I am so motivated to do just about everything to make it succeed–but write. I will look research SEO tricks, how to increase traffic, where to find free photos, how to appeal to a certain demographic, how to stay true to your niche, and so much more, but when it comes to sitting down to write the post, I freeze. There’s a switch that gets flipped, and suddenly I’m not Confident Kelly anymore, an amateur but determined businesswoman. Instead I’m reminded of how many unfinished novels I have sitting in the back of my closet, carting them from city to city every time I move but never opening them back up again. I’m reminded of how many days I forget to write my daily haiku–a three line poem!–and how far I have to go before I am disciplined. I’m reminded of how much I hated reading my column in the Bluffton News-Banner when it came out every week, to the point where I stopped looking, stopped rereading, stopped paying attention. It was like an actress watching her own movie and finding only faults in every scene she was in. I’m reminded of all my fears, failures, and inadequacies. Everywhere I can go wrong.

But back to Tuesday night.

I informed my roommate Victoria that I’d be locking myself in my room to write. She smiled and had something sweet to say, as always.

“I’m glad you’re doing something you like!”

“That’s the thing though, I don’t even like it.”

What? I thought to myself. What just happened? What are you doing? You’re not honestly going to try to explain this, are you?

But of course, I did.

“See, I don’t even like writing that much. It’s really, really hard. Nothing about it comes easily or naturally. I heard this quote once that I really liked, and it goes something like, ‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.'” [Note: Thomas Mann said that.]

Victoria looked confused. “But..isn’t that what you want to do for a career?”

I half smiled. “Yep. It is.”

Friday, December 19, 2014 11:53 pm 

I’ve just about had it. The endless amount of excuses I can install could stop a world war. I’m too tired, I need to pray, I haven’t hung out with friends in a while, I deserve a break, I’ll do it tomorrow, I just can’t. I just can’t. The one thing standing in the way of me writing, is me not writing. When my eyes burn in the midnight light and my fingers are down to hunt and peck at 3 am, when my butt has gone numb from the chair and my back aches to stand up, when my mind races and races to find the one word I need that doesn’t exist and I roll my neck one last time before I’ll close the computer, I am whole. Writing was never meant to be beautiful or fun. It’s not freeing. I am not better off for having written. It’s a drug that I am not addicted to, a lover that does not attract. Still I must come back, knock on the doors of Novel and ask to enter. There are so many things we left undiscussed from the last time. I leave prematurely—every visit—and I am allowed back in with the promise that I will take the poison. 

Above my desk, I keep a quote from Neil Gaiman–an author I don’t even like–scrawled on a little post it note:

“This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

If you’re not a writer, forgive me for what probably seems like a dramatic, over exaggerated, incredibly odd explanation of what I want to do with my life, and why I don’t like it. If you’re a writer, maybe something here resonated with you. And if you’re like me, you sometimes (most of the time? All the time? Yeah, all the time.) need a good kick in the pants to start having the ferociously determined mindset you need to write. [Side note: That’s one reason why I have so much respect for journalists. It doesn’t matter if they just finished a story that took them three months, if they’re so tired they type with their eyes closed, or if they plain aren’t in a writing mood–they write, because the things about which they are writing never stop happening]. So for all you writers out there who are sick of moping around, like me, read some of my favorite, inspirational quotes below. And then go create some yourself.

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

-Ernest Hemingway

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write.”

-Margaret Atwood

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

-Maya Angelou

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

-Toni Morrison

And my two personal favorites,

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemingway

“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.”

-P.G. Wodehouse

Before You Go:

Did these quotes speak to you? Which was your favorite? You can find all of them and more on our Pinterest “Writing” board. Follow Precariosities on Pinterest today!


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