Sometimes, I seriously question my desire to become a writer. Have I mistaken a weakness for smooth, creamy paper and inky pens for literary ambition? Have I allowed myself to be seduced by the quiet image of leather bound notebooks on polished wooden cafe tables? Do I, in short, love all the imagined trappings of being a writer, and not the reality of it?
The reality of it is that most of the time, writing is really, really, really not fun.
Most of the time it is sitting and writing down sentence after sentence that, even while you are writing them, make you cringe with their awfulness. Everytime I sit down to write I have to fight the urge, even if it’s just an initial urge, to immediately get up again and do anything — clean the toilet, wash my socks, cower underneath my bed and sob — rather than write the next sentence of whatever short story I am working on.
Oh, friends. It’s hard. It is so, so hard.
And then…and then. I’m not sure how, but it gets not so hard. I write the first sentence and it’s awful. I write the second sentence and it’s atrocious, even worse than the first. I write the third sentence and I genuinely fear that someone will read it some day before I can delete it. And then, somewhere around the fifth or sixth or seventeenth sentence, something happens. I forget about how awful my sentences are. What I’m writing is still terrible, as subsequent editing will tell me, but I’m flying by now in reckless abandonment. I don’t care if what I’m writing is so bad that my future self is already cringing and wanting to kill herself. Because at least I’m writing.
But then sooner or later I come out of this haze (Jo March called it a ‘vortex’ — very apt) and then I’m once again left wondering: Should writing be fun? And here’s the even more tormenting question: if writing isn’t fun for you, does that mean you aren’t meant to be a writer?
Does anyone have the answer to this question?
No? No one?
It’s okay. Never mind. I’m just talking to myself here.