Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Pain of Writing

photo by paper pastries
Ernest Hemingway said, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Today we sit in front of computers but Hemingway's sentiment still rings true. The act of writing is fulfilling yet painful.

Between undergrad and grad school, I've spent an infinite number of hours typing stories and papers on my laptop. Afternoons and all-nighters filled with despair, Coca-Cola, and fervency. Fulfilling a writing assignment usually feels as physically and mentally exhausting as running a marathon.

When I have a story deadline, I typically procrastinate because the blank page is a wall that appears too tall to climb. So I sit at the bottom and look up in dismay. Hours before my story is due I begin scaling the wall while the clock steadily dwindles. I need the fever of a deadline to spur me into action.

This dysfunctional writing cycle produces unnecessary pain and stress. Once I finish my story, with only a few minutes to spare, I sit and wonder why I didn't start sooner. Inevitably, the wall is easier to scale once I start climbing. Next time, I tell myself, it'll be different. The process doesn't have to be this way and yet, it's a habit I can't break.

I haven't written on my blog for almost two months because I either haven't felt like I've had anything worthwhile to say or the simple act of writing my feelings/thoughts down has felt too hard. The tricky thing about any creative endeavor is that you only get better with practice. How will I know what I want to say if I don't try?

So this is me, once again, trying to write. Make it hurt so good.

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