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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday on Writing: What Frustrates You the Most?

Funny, for last week's Wednesday on Writing feature I had planned to discus something along those very lines. But a busy schedule kept me from posting and I shelved the topic for this week.

And then something wonderful happened. A similar topic was chosen for discussion on one of the TWRP loops. The question "what drives you crazy about the writing process?" was posted. TWRP Author Delle Jacobs responded and her response not only had me nodding my head in agreement, it touched me--and inspired me.

With her permission, I'm sharing that with you. What she had to say was far better than what I would have come up with. I hope you'll find her words as inspirational as I did.

Do you know what is the most frustrating thing about writing for me? ME!
I am my own worst enemy. There are so many times when I would just like
to kick myself if I could just figure out how to do that effectively.I
probably have a lot of company, from what I hear. Writing is the thing
we love with such an intense passion that we quit our jobs to stay home
so we can devote more time to it. And then what? We waste our newly
found time.

I'm always busy, yes. But doing what? I've never been one to write in
the morning so I try to get other tasks done until my mind is better
set. But it seems there ae so many days when morning doesn't end until
the sun goes down! And that's entirely my fault!

I think we talk a lot about writers' block, but we don't seem to
remember writing is hard work. Most of us can remember the early days of
our writing when it was such pure joy, when the words flowed like warmed
honey, and we think we ought to feel that wonderful experience with
every word we write. But we've forgotten the other side of that time.
Part of why it was so wonderful was just writing without the constraints
that inevitably came with writing better. We didn't really know how to
write, but we didn't know we didn't know. And now we know so much more,
and hold ourselves to a much higher standard. Now writing it hard work.
Yet we tell ourselves how bad our writing is. And we fill our days with
busy work that keeps us from having to face the fear that maybe our
writing stinks after all. What failures, what frauds we are! All because
the stories don't come easily, like we somehow think they should. But if
writing were easy, why would anyone stand in awe of authors and what
they do? If it were easy, anyone could and likely would sit down and
whip out stories as easily as they manage the daily drive to work.

I've decided that when a story hits a wall- or I do- it doesn't mean I'm
a failure or fraud, or that my story is junk and that's all I can write.
It means instead that I have come upon an opportunity to take my story
from ordinary to outstanding. I could probably take the easy, safe way
out and just write what anybody would write. There's always one of those
easy, trite plot lines available. But if my gut is shutting down my
brain and saying "Don't write that," then I'd better listen. It's time
to sit back and analyze my story, brainstorm my plot, or as Joleigh
Kramer said, time to make a list of ten different thing that could
happen next, and throw away the first five, because anyone could think
of those.

But you know what, this is hard! Maybe I just slip back into the bad,
lazy habits because I just don't want to face hard. Maybe some days I
just want to go back to the joy of writing junk and not noticing how bad
it is. And maybe, some days I'm just plain lazy and want to play. And
I'm willing to accept the coming guilt as a perfectly acceptable price
to pay for the fun of being lazy.

Delle Jacobs

Isn't that amazing? Big round of applause for her honesty. Now let's all go write and not worry about how good it is, or if we're doing it right. Write, if you will, just for the joy of it!

How about you? What do you find most frustrating about writing?


Paty Jager said...

Delle is an amazing person.

My frustration is making sure the plot is plausible and not over the top, but keep it from being cookie cutter.

Fun post.

Monya Clayton said...

Delle, you expressed exactly how I feel! Thanks for the merciless honesty. Now I know I'm not alone.

My problem is partly physical, I'm 69 and have health problems. Which, added up, mean I simply can't move at any but tortoise speed. Major frustration.

I wish you well! Thanks for the privilege of reading it. And thanks, Nic, for posting it!

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