Friday, March 4, 2011

On the Act of "Writering"

I decided today that there is an act of being a writer which is different from the act of writing.

The act of writing is pretty straight-forward. You put words together. You can write on paper, the computer or even in sand. It's pretty easy.

The act of writering, on the other hand, isn't.

The act of writering is constant juggling - balancing the needs of the story with the needs of self, as in when one needs to go to the grocery store but the story is going so well you don't get there for weeks and the only thing left in the refrigerator is a wilted piece of lettuce and your spouse is looking at you like, "Really? You couldn't get to the grocery store?" Or wanting to call in sick to work because the story is going really, really well, and you don't want to stop and needing to balance your desire to write with your desire to make money so you can go grocery shopping.

Writering involves a great deal of self-assessment, too. Am I feeling tired because I was up until 2 am working on the story last night or because I'm afraid the story isn't going well and I don't want to deal with it? Am I jumping out of my chair every five minutes because the story isn't going well or because I'm writing such an emotionally tense moment I can't sit still for longer than one sentence at a time? Am I running away or engaged? Do I want to go take pictures because I'm procrastinating or because I need to recharge my batteries? If I stop writing for the day here am I going to be able to pick it up tomorrow? Am I feeling blocked because the scene doesn't belong here or because I'm afraid of it? Am I afraid? Am I afraid? Am I afraid?

I think writering is where most writers fall apart. We think writing should be easy, but we fail to understand that there's writing and then there's writering, and so we beat ourselves up because writering isn't easy at all. It takes constant vigilance, constant attention, and, sometimes, it's exhausting.

I writered today. I writered a lot, actually. Yesterday was one of those incredible writing days where I was able to concentrate for hours and the words flowed and seven pages got written. Those days always make me think I'm going to be able to wake up the next day and dive right back in for another productive day, but that rarely happens. Instead, I get days like today. Sitting at the computer and typing a sentence and then getting up and doing something else. Wondering if I should go do something else again, and if that will help the words flow better or if I should keep my butt in my chair and muddle through.

I chose to muddle through, and I've got another couple of pages to show for it. But it was a very writeringly day.

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