Tonight as I was talking to my friend, Tracy, her wonderful husband Shane tolerating our chatter with the patience of a saint all through dinner and beyond, she asked me if I found writing “easy.” People rarely ask me about writing. I’m not sure if it’s because they already read my blog so they feel they already know how it’s going or if it’s because they’re afraid I will bore them with details about proper grammar. Either way, the question took me by surprise.
I told her I’ve now written for over 150 consecutive days, which is a personal record. I never thought I could do it. And, what started as a rather nondescript goal of publishing something online every day has turned into an excuse to practice writing. And, that’s what I am doing. I am practicing it.
Writing has never been easy for me because I am highly self-critical. The act of putting words on paper or text on screen is easy, but that’s not writing. Writing is the continual revision of work, the search for the best turn of phrase, the quest to discover the perfect quirk for the main character, the non-stop pouring out of your heart for the world to see and judge. This blogging I’ve been doing has been slowly allowing me to discover my own voice as a writer. This, it is my deepest hope, will lead me to write down one of the books I’ve been formulating in my head for years. On scraps of paper and in shoddily marked folders on my hard drive exist pages of notes with ideas, phrases, character sketches, and book titles. Somewhere in that information is the book I will write. It may get published or it may not. But, I know I have a book in me somewhere.
Not everyone who can write is a writer, but every serious writer I know will honestly tell you that writing, though rewarding, is exceedingly difficult. I have often said that all writers are tortured artists, not because we’re all a bunch of lost souls, drowning in vodka bottles and fumigating ourselves with chain-smoked cigarettes. We’re tortured souls because writing done correctly is torturous. It’s a non-stop process until you either collapse with satisfaction or simply can no longer stand to listen to yourself talk and so finally decide to shut up. So, do I find writing easy? Not particularly. But, out of all the difficult things I have done, writing is the only one I enjoy suffering through. Maybe the truth then is not that writers are tortured souls but rather that we are masochists.