I’ve read a lot of articles about how writers love writing, they can’t get enough of it, they drink in the world and pour it out in smooth prose. They don’t even have enough hours in the day to write everything down with pen or keyboard.
When I read these articles, I find myself sitting back, and feeling a lingering, uneasy knot wedged in the middle of my stomach.
Because I know that I hate writing.
What makes my stomach summersault is the actual process of writing. Typing ill-formed and maladjusted 1st drafts onto a stark white page. I feel like someone has handed me a bucket of milk and a whisk and expects me to make butter.
I live for the honed and crafted result after I’ve tortured myself through a paragraph or a short story. The moment when something actually comes out how I expected, especially when it’s from something that took guts to write or that I really believe in.
I’ve never found writing easy. A half-formed idea will sit in my head churning away for days, itching to be written. Strings of words and half formed images will swirl around and dance together in impish harmony until one day I spit them out onto my laptop. A bit like the slug alien in Evolution, but less messy.
What I find so hard is being soul searchingly honest while remaining true to both my voice and my beliefs. Hitting that constant bullseye is no mean task, and the more creatively I write the more I notice the gap.
It’s actually very similar to learning a foreign language, the more you improve the more you hear your own errors and the less freely you speak, or like when you hear your voice echo back at you on the phone and you think “Is that actually what I sound like?”
I guess writing for me is also an addiction. Because when I get it right, or when my fingers rapidly type to their own rhythm, my heart skips a beat. It’s a mix of excitement and anxiety. Like the thoughts can’t wait to become words. When I write, time speeds ahead and stops at the same time until I’ve finished.
I’ve actually wondered far too many times if I should even be a writer, particularly when I have a subject swimming around that I am too scared to write. What always seems to give me a pleasant slap around the face is knowing that I couldn’t be anything else.
Every decision in my life has brought me back to writing in some form. Writing feels more like a compulsion, a necessity, a calming influence. It is much more than a hobby or a profession to me.
I know that even though I hate writing, I hate not writing even more. And once all my daily doubts have washed away, I always come back to one truth that supersedes all the self-critiques:
I could never ever stop writing.
And that very thought helps me to sit and wait through the creative droughts. I know at some point I’ll be sat in front of my blank screen and hear my keyboard starting to click because my brain is ready to create worlds out of thoughts I didn’t even realise I had.
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