“Everyone lies about writting. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writting is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They talk about their ‘morning ritual’ and how they ‘dress for writting’… No one tells the truth about writting a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writting is this: hard and boring and ocassionally great, but usually not”
– Amy Poehler (via hellolauravela)
There definitely is a romantic vision of writing: my own involves sipping (green/peach not chai) tea, while sitting on an adirondack chair by a lake on a beautiful sunny day. But a day where it’s cool enough to wear leggings and a baggy sweater, because those are crucial pieces to the picture as well. But most often, I’m at my messy desk sitting on two pillows because my chair is too low and if I write too long there without them my neck seizes up so that I can’t move it. (Glamarous, amirite?) There usually is tea involved, but my attire is Penn State sweats and a stretchy t-shirt I’ve owned for years and should probably toss.
But I will say a part of me disagrees with this quote, mostly because I like talking about how difficult and sometimes awful it is. It’s like when people ask me if my tattoos hurt to get done. (Yes. Yes they did hurt.) Writing a book is hard. It hurts. It’s painful at times because there are moments where the words don’t come out. There are hours of re-reading, and then re-reading that, and then making minute edits that make you want to claw your eyes out. And then by the end you can’t even read the work any more because you can no longer tell if it’s good or bad or just words on a page. And I will absolutely scream all that from the rooftops.
I guess it’s the “occasionally great” moments that keep us coming back. In tennis there’s something called a sweet spot on a racket. When you hit the ball just right, it’s almost indescribable how that feels. You just know with complete certainty that you can feel in your hand, in your arm, as it sends the signal to your brain, that what just happened was something special. It’s so rare, but it makes you stick around. That’s what I feel like when I write a sentence that just works. When I know, even when I go back and read the rest of the story a month later and wonder how it didn’t just self-combust it was that bad, that that one sentence holds up.
My stories (erm, the one or two I’ve written, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here) were never shiny little droplets of joy just waiting in hiding until I found a computer. They have been ideas that I have laboriously twisted into a semblance of a plot with characters I hope are flawed and likable and interesting, but who really knows? It was mornings I did not want to wake up early, and late nights I stayed up even though I was exhausted and knew the words would be crap anyway. It was passing up something fun on the weekends, to sit in B&N and drink green tea lemonades until I couldn’t stave off a bathroom run any longer. It was forcing myself to trudge through just one more page, just another thousand words, just one more chapter, even when my fingers just wanted to click over to Facebook or Twitter.
But then you have this thing that you created. After which, you get another idea, another seedling that might grow into a story. And you wonder. Was it worth it? Do I have the energy, patience and sheer willpower to do it all again? And maybe it was and maybe you do.
What do you think? What’s the #lifeofawriter really like for you? Is there chai tea involved?
All my love,
p.s. I downloaded Vance Joy’s album during my writing session at Starbucks (aka the bux) today and it is DELIGHTFUL. I usually don’t listen to music to write, but he was putting me in the mood. Check out this song. You’re welcome.