It really is. Not the actual act of sitting down and typing or scribbling words onto the page/screen. But the confidence that what I’m doing matters, at all, in the grand scheme of things. Taking the few hours in the morning to try to craft a story that won’t leave me alone (I dream about this thing) but also won’t come out in any cohesive way is hard.
I’m procrastinating writing right now, in fact, by writing this blog post about how hard it is to write.
I woke up in the middle of the night and realized what my problem was. I have three stories going at the same time right now, two in editing and one in drafting. I’m trying my darnedest to work on all three, but I end up not really getting much of anything done. I’ve been reading a lot of books about story structure, and I want to make sure I really get it right in these stories. One of them is the book that I really feel like is going to be the “best thing” I’ve ever written. I am in love with the story and the characters and I want to make sure my limitations don’t prevent it from serving the readers in the same way its served me. So I paused it. I’m doing a lot of reading and taking notes. Another, I’ve had “done” for a while, but knew it was missing something. I’ve spent the last two hours revamping the overall story structure, ripping my scenes apart, moving them around, and marking them to be rewritten. I’m at the three-quarter mark in the new outline and am terrified I still don’t have it right.
I haven’t gotten nearly as much writing done as I wanted to this summer. Part of it was that I gave myself a pass to spending more time with the kids. But the bigger part of it is: Writing is Hard. It’s harder than my day-job (which deals with people a lot of the time and is certainly no cake-walk). It’s harder, a lot of the time, than dealing with my kids, who are finally at the age that they’re entertaining themselves and each other without me. It’s harder, obviously, than writing this blog post. It’s just plain hard.
I’m not stopping, not by any means. But I just wanted to put this out there, in case anyone else is going through something similar. It’s easy to feel like we’re alone in this struggling-to-make-art thing because we rarely do it with or around other people. So I just want to publicly declare: This is hard.
But I’m going to keep doing it.