“I hate writing. I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker
I’ve met a few people who are quick to say they love writing. They are sincere, happy people who tend to glow in the dark. People who eagerly sift through tornado-paths of literary devastation to find the one story that can threaten to replace your well-earned despair with un-warranted hope. I hate* those people.
I also hate writing. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit strong. How about this: I find it difficult to love writing.
Oh, there are moments when writing appears to be lovable. Like the moment when you first come up with a story idea. “I’m a genius!” And the moment when you sit down to start writing that story. “This is the best idea ever!” And the moment when your fingers line up like agreeable soldiers on the keyboard. “When I finish this novel I’ll finally have something to brag about at my high school reunion!”
But those aren’t really writing moments. They’re “anticipation of writing” moments. It’s easy to love writing when you’re approaching the desk. But when you actually begin…
Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap. Tap tap.
To love writing, you have to love, or at least endure, lots of unlovable things. Like these:
- Staring blankly at a computer monitor for long periods of time.
- Sitting in a chair for long periods of time.
- Standing at a standing desk for long periods of time in a half-hearted attempt to increase your life expectancy or impress your writing group friends.
- Accepting the fact that your vocabulary is entirely…um…what’s the word? Small? Not big? Little? Wait…[searches thesaurus]…oh right, inadequate.
- Waiting for the kids to fall asleep. Waiting for the spouse to stop bugging you to come to bed. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting for your fingers to obey your brain. Waiting for Twitter and Facebook to stop demanding your attention. Waiting for the voice in your head to stop shouting “You can’t write!”
- Those moments when confidence and self-doubt occupy the very same space and stare at you like you’re supposed to know how that’s even possible.
- Dirty dishes. Dirty clothes. Dirty children.
- Lukewarm coffee. Stale donuts. Cheetos dust.
- Friends who don’t understand you.
- Friends who think they understand you because they wrote a poem in third grade and got a ribbon for it.
- Friends who think you’re insane.
- Friends who think you’re going to be a millionaire as soon as you finish your novel.
- Hoping this novel will make you a millionaire.
- Another writer’s success.
- Another writer’s failure.
- Backaches. Heartaches. Truth aches.
- Asteroid strikes. Al Qaeda. The zombie apocalypse.
And that’s just today’s list.
Let’s be honest. After all this, can you truly, sincerely say that you love writing? Can you?
Tap tap tap tap tap…
Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap…
Me, too. [Starts glowing in the dark.]
*I don’t really hate them. But I do find it difficult to love them. Which is exactly the same way I feel about writing. (See what I did there? Gosh, I loved writing that sentence. (See what I did there? I know. I deserve a ribbon.))