Friday, February 25, 2011

A Writer's Life

First of all, yes we are writers. When one puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and chronicles thoughts from the recesses of our brain we are writers. It may not be your main career and it may never earn you any money, but you have the perfect right to call yourself a writer. I think about writing almost all of the time. The funny thing (not ha-ha funny) is that I actually don't like to write. Or maybe it's not that I don't like to write. I have this weird idea that the first draft I write should be perfect.

Okay, now that you've stopped laughing we can move on. I know where my scene is going and what I want my characters to say and do, but actually sitting down and writing takes a lot of concentration and willpower. I think my main problem is that I get stuck on words. Not just any word, but the right word for the sentence I'm working on. I used to sit there with my Super Thesaurus in hand, flipping through the pages until I found the perfect word. I'm not as rigid now. I'll leave gaps to fill in later or XXXXs to let myself know I've gotten stuck. There seems to be an excessive amount of XXXXs on my manuscript lately.

And of course, there's so much to do before I even begin to write. I have to check my emails and my favourite writers' blogs. I might have to refresh my memory by reading some of the novel or short story I'm working on. Then I have to plan the scene I'm working on. Only then can I begin the process of writing.

I was writing just a few minutes ago and the phone rang--you guessed it, another telemarketer and I'm on the Do-Not-Call list! Now, I'm angry and I've lost track of my thoughts. Time for a break.

Back from my break, but now there's another distraction. I can't write in a messy room. It drives me crazy. No wonder I couldn't write before my break. Fortunately, my desk faces the window and I can block out most of the mess, but just knowing it's there irritates me. The room has been tidied, the papers and books are organised and now I can get back to my writing. An hour later and I've typed about one-and-a-half pages into the computer with several XXXXs throughout. Is this normal? Does Stephen King write this way?

I long for the day when I can sit down in a messy room, ignoring the email messages and phone calls, and let my fingers fly across the keyboard. Until then I guess I'll just keep plugging away at my own snaillike pace.

Back to the drawing board,



  1. Nicely said, Cynthia.

    I love writing, but I tend to put it off. That said, I've gotten a lot better, used to be terrible. First off, don't mind writing in a messy, but do get distracted and want to read, surf the internet, or this and that.

    I tend to leave gaps too. I'll have to try the XXXX.

  2. I feel like I can relate to all of that Cynthia. I do get a rush from scratching out the first draft, but I do struggle with how long and difficult a process it can often be to go from that first draft to something I feel I can read out loud. A friend said to me recently that "writing is re-writing". Not as glamorous as I would like to imagine, but very true I think! **I'm reading Stephen King's book on writing so I'll see if I can answer you question...