Writing Pains

“This is the magic/curse of writing: That in crafting your fiction, you leave yourself open to sudden moments of unguarded truth, and you have to be willing to tolerate that again and again. You have to keep raising your sword and charging, even knowing you could retreat scorched and missing a limb. You have to keep doing it even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to.”

This brilliant quote is from Libba Bray’s most recent blog post. And it’s just so true and spoke to me so much that I felt I needed to add my own thoughts.

I’m not going to lie. There are sometimes when I wonder why I keep at this writing thing. There are times when I feel like my characters are all the same and my stories are all the same and it’s just one giant circle. When I’m smack in the middle of a first draft, there are times when I can barely get up the will power to pick up the pencil (or keyboard…I don’t tend to write longhand unless I have to). It’s times like this when I really have to hunker down and just do it, because otherwise it’s never going to get done.

There are also times when it’s emotionally difficult for me to write a scene. A novel I wrote about a year and a half ago, there was a scene that I was absolutely dreading writing. Even now I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was, but they were emotions I didn’t want to face. More recently, I had to kill off a character I’m pretty partial to. I drew out the scenes leading up to that as much as I could. I dawdled. It took me a week to get to the actual death and then I was depressed for days.

And then there are times that I’m anxious for no reason, but I can tell it has to do with a story on my mind. I had a knot in my stomach all afternoon yesterday and off and on today. There’s a story I keep thinking of and it’s one that I feel like I should tell–but at the same time, I feel like I shouldn’t. It’s incredibly draining.

Writing is a painful and wonderful art. It makes us face emotions that we don’t want to face, but we have to anyway. We have to think about the tough stuff and we have to understand how to get through it. We get to learn right along with our characters. And I feel like all this, as confusing and painful as it can be, is more a blessing than a curse.