Thursday, September 22, 2011

Things I Hate About Writing

I self-identify as a writer, which - if I think about it too much - sounds a little pretentious.  It's like I'm just begging people to say "Oh!  And what do you write about?" which is usually not the case.

In largest part, I love writing.  I wouldn't classify it as fun, per se; some of what I write is fun to do, but not all, and there is a level of work involved.  But it's work I love as opposed to, say, mowing the lawn, which I regard as more of a necessary evil.  Still, it's not fun.  And there are a couple of things I hate about it.

1.  Writer's block.  No mystery there.  I hate not being able to take my thoughts, which are sometimes very complex to the point where even I don't understand what's going on upstairs, and put them into words that will adequately convey what I'm trying to express.  I once read a maxim that said "If you think in words, paint.  If you think in pictures, write."  I'm very much a picture thinker - actually, to be more precise, I tend to think in film.  This doesn't always lend itself quite right to the written page.

2.  Being told what to write.  I experienced this a lot after my first book came out several years ago.  For some reason, a lot of people I knew thought it was appropriate to respond to this news by saying, "You know what you should write about?  [Insert their preferred topic here.]  That would be an awesome book.  You should write it."  No, no I shouldn't.  Because I have no interest in the topic.  If you find that topic interesting, that's great!  Then you should write a book about it.  Not me.

3.  Inopportune moments for creativity.  The characters of my stories "talk" to me, and I realize that's not something that will necessarily make sense to you unless you have also written fiction.  They basically sit in my head and tell me their life stories, or have conversations with each other that I get to hear.  The trouble is that they invariably do this at times when I am unable to transcribe them.  The main character of my current novel loves to talk while I'm driving, for some reason.  I get 'muse ramblings' when I'm at work, in the shower, eating out with friends...anywhere that I can't write or type.  And of course, when I have the paper or the laptop?  Radio silence.   Leading to #1.

So I have issues with writing.  But I love it.  I need to do it.  It's almost as critical to me as food or shelter.  I'm just lucky to live with someone who accepts this as a necessary part of my personality, and doesn't even blink when I complain about characters who won't talk (or, occasionally, won't shut up).


  1. I love that you have expressed both the joys and frustrations of having a creative brain, and in a far better manner than I could. I think that until you see both the ups and the downs of something you have not truly come to know that thing.


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