Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is It Just Me Or Is Writing Hard?

Is it just me or is writing hard? It’s probably just me. I’m sure that while I’m still staring at my computer screen, most other writers are feverishly typing page after flawless page, a thought that makes me want to bang my head against a piano. I’ll explain that later. For me, the process is, and has always been, a struggle. Seldom does a paragraph come easy for me. Part of the problem is I weigh words, trying to figure out which one fits best. Do I need empty-headed or brainless? Such a question must be mulled over, and quite possibly while enjoying a hearty lunch. I mean, if I’m going to suffer for my art I might as well do it at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
I have to admit, however, that as day after day spent writing passes, the process does seem to get a little easier. What started out feeling like I’m pushing my diesel Excursion uphill by day five or six more closely approximates a mid-sized sedan. But then comes Sunday. I once had a Bishop who taught religion classes for a living, and his approach to keeping the Sabbath day holy involved not even reading the passages of scripture he planned to cover that week with his students, because that was his work. When he told me that, all I could say was, "CRAP!" Sunday, as a mother of six, is the perfect day to write: My husband’s home, the kids are busy doing shrink art and macrame projects that tell the story of the early history of the church (okay, they’re watching TV) and dinner is in the crock pot. But my Bishop threw down the gauntlet, and so a leisurely hour or so of writing on Sunday (even if I didn’t have a contract) no longer seemed okay, which meant the Excursion that I’d be pushing on Monday would not only be going up hill, but would be packed for Scout camp, beefy teenagers included. For me, even a day off makes it that much harder.
Getting back to banging my head against a piano . . . I realize that Sesame Street with little kids today is a bit passe, which is fine with me since it annoys me reasons I won’t get into at the moment. But, be that as it may, when I’m struggling to write, I nearly always think of Sesame Street character who, for me, best illustrates my frustration: Don Music. As muppets go, he’s fairly good looking, not to mention a classy dresser, and he’s always at the piano writing a song. When he gets to a point in the lyric where he can’t think of what the next word should be, he bangs his head against the piano in front of him. Repeatedly. Over and Over. Smashing his skull with abandon against the keys, until the answer comes, which is usually handed to him by Kermit the Frog, but that’s not the point. The point is, I identify with his need to dent the keyboard with his forehead. Though I’ve never done it (the dog would start to howl, plus the kids would complain they couldn’t hear the TV) trying to write can frustrate me to the point that I’d like to do it, if repairing a baby grand wasn’t so expensive.
So what’s my point? My point is that writing is too hard so I’m taking up shrink art. I’m joking. Besides, all are markers in our house are probably dried up. We’re not the best at putting caps back on. But seriously, my point is that despite the frustrations that come with it, I truly enjoy writing. And one of the best parts of writing is having readers enjoy the book you’ve written. I just did a school visit where all the fifth graders had read Clan Destine, and it made all the moments where I wanted to bang my head worth it. So that’s it, and now I need to get back to pushing my vehicle uphill. At least today it’s not packed with teenagers.


Kammi Rencher said...

I know your pain. It takes me about 45 minutes to type a single page of a novel. It's just a struggle to get all the words out on a page. Even worse, I tend to lose interest after a while--after all, I already know what is going to happen, which kind of kills the suspense.
Right now I have two completed novels (both of which are truly awful and will go with me two my grave) and about twenty started novels...I don't think I'll ever finish a one of them. I've been working on my most recent one for about two years, and I'm on chapter three. :S
So basically, I admire anyone who has the fortitude to actually finish writing a book. As for me, I think I'd better stick to editing. :)

Stephanie Black said...

Lisa, I hear you! Writing IS hard! Good thing we love it . . .

Tamra Norton said...

I agree. Writing IS hard. I have a love/hate relationship with it. But I have to do it.

I'm just wondering where the three hour nap fits in on Sunday?