Writing, for me, has always been relatively easy. I never struggled to come up with passable prose in short periods of time. And, I loved it. Perhaps not the “essays” we were assigned in school, but simply the act of writing. I kept a journal, wrote short stories, novels, plays, poetry (of course) and even a film script. All of this is to say that writing, for me, has never been work, let along hard work. And I never treated it as such.
And now that has all changed.
Rather than waiting for the inspiration to strike, I now write every day. It has been difficult to come up with something to write every day. Often times, it is a challenge to make it through the entire 50 minute writing period, let alone meet my daily word goal. I stare at the screen, write, delete, rewrite, delete again. I feel my mind wandering. I force myself to focus, I force myself to just leave well enough alone and to go back and edit later.
I force my fingers across the keyboard, making words appear on the screen, slowly, steadily, line by line, then page by page.
For the first time in my life, writing feels like work, real work. It’s a different kind of satisfaction at the end of it, too. It’s like being in the middle of a training cycle (warning: this is a swimming metaphor); you pound out the yards, leave each practice feeling drained and slightly overwhelmed by it all. How many more weeks of this do I have to still endure before we get to end? Can I do it? Is it worth it? But I also knew that it wasn’t just anyone who could do what I did in the pool. Sure, there were many who could do it better, but many more who could but wouldn’t, who wanted to, but couldn’t.
So in the same way that I used to drag my tired and sore body out of bed at five in the morning in the dead of a Canadian winter in order to dive into a pool and grind out some more yards, I force myself to stand at my desk and grind out the words. I show up, for better or for worse, and get the writing done. There are good days and bad days, but each day that I write something, it’s another step closer to the goal of getting my book done.
Sure, there are many who do it better, but many more who could by don’t, who want to but can’t.