Life,  Writing

The Writing Life

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Sometimes, the writer’s life is easy. Sometimes it’s not.

Sometimes the words don’t come or the story doesn’t work or you suddenly hate your main character.

Sometimes, you forget the rules of grammar so that the ones you break aren’t intentional and what you’ve just written reads like you wrote it while drunk and having bed spins.

Sometimes you can fly by the seat of your pants and sometimes you can’t.

Sometimes your carefully plotted out story bores the crap out of you because you plotted it out too much.

Sometimes, a sentence falls out of one of your characters’ mouths so perfectly and so naturally that it sends you reeling away from the straight-line path of your outline, so far out of the way that’s going to cost you thousands of words and be perfect for the story even though you have no idea how you’re going to get back.

Sometimes, when you’re going back to edit something you’ve written, the thing that has just passed before your eyes makes no sense whatsoever and you have no idea what you originally intended for that sentence, paragraph, chapter.

Sometimes, when you are experimenting with dictation, and you’re not in a perfect sound environment, the transcription software twists your words and the background noise into something nonsensical, hilarious, offensive, or pornographic.

Sometimes, when you’re thinking about that transcription software to closely, you start to lose hope over the fact that you can probably, most of the time, never expect more than about a 90% accuracy, regardless of the claims the software makes, and you’re crushed into realizing that that means 10,000 of the hundred thousand words in your novel are the wrong words.

Sometimes, not counting the words it gets wrong, your transcription software drops words or adds some that aren’t there.

Sometimes, you could get so wrapped up in getting today’s words in that you neglect housework, other projects, plants, pets, children, spouse.

Sometimes, you forget meals, miss appointments, leave for work far later that you should have and risk a significant speeding ticket to show up on time.

Sometimes you wake up with a spectacular idea or have one in the shower or while you’re driving or running or doing something that doesn’t involve writing and by the time you can reach for a pencil or a voice recorder or a phone or laptop, it’s far too late.

Sometimes things work too well and sometimes they don’t work at all, and

Sometimes that’s in the same writing session.

Sometimes it’s in the same paragraph.

So why would anyone choose to be a writer?

Especially since I haven’t mentioned any of the massive frustrations of trying to get someone else to publish your work. Or review it. Or read it. Or even look at it.

I should look up who said it first, someone very famous in the writing world, I expect, but it’s fairly common advice that if you can do anything other than write then you should. It’s a miserable life.

Sometimes ecstatic and others soul-crushing, it’s filled with extremes, and you have to have a life while you do it and a real job and maybe even a family; at the very least there are probably people you care about. So yes, if you can do something other than write, you probably should.

If you can’t, then some part of your energy is almost always going in that direction.

I definitely go through phases where I can’t write, where life intervenes, where stuff is going on that has to be dealt with, but I’m still desperate to, and I’m always, always happier when I’m writing. I can’t speak for every writer, just for myself, but I’m always happiest when I’m learning or creating something, and writing is one of a very few things that can give me both.

Someday, I may even be good at it, but there’s only one way to find that out.

Be well, everyone.

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