It’s taken me more time than I care to admit to, returning to working on my present project, a revision of a novel, one that I’ve promised my readers would be out this year. Well, maybe. We’ll see.
Practical and irrational reasons thwarted my attempts to get me behind my desk and at it. There were many days when I could not, and did not want to write. While writing can be quite a transformative experience for me, it’s mostly a work shift filled with a lot of angst and frustration.
For most writers, and I include myself, it is important that no matter how one feels, save an acute attack of the latest influenza or some such malady, a writer should be writing. Every day. Through the bad days and the good days. The highs and the lows. Even if it means writing little more than a sentence or two.
There’s an anecdote involving a famous writer who is said to have spent the day’s writing changing a comma to a period or some such thing only to change it back. That’s more or less the truth of it. It’s seldom a breeze, most often a struggle, getting it down right, and in some ways getting it down at all.
Paradoxically, the bad days don’t always produce bad writing, and vice versa. It’s a bit of mystery in that way. Writing comes from this highly idiosyncratic place from within, which appears to matter not the weather, or the writer’s emotional/physical state.
I was back at work today after two weeks of humming and hawing — albeit in concert with nursing my old Chihuahua through a scratched cornea — and got a few paragraphs down. One hundred words tops. Not much. The writing might not even be any good; that’s tomorrow’s assignment. For now, I got my work done. It was work.
And don’t let anyone tell you differently: Writing is work.
Again, blank discouragement. Have no heart to write any more
— George Gissing, writing in his journal. He wrote 19 novels