Writing is Fun

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Creative Writing | 0 comments

Writing is Fun

So regular readers of this blog (all nine of you) may have noticed that Grandpa Hank took a bit of an unexpected hiatus for the last three weeks or so. Why? Well, the doctors aren’t quite certain, but it’s because at the beginning of July, all of my muscles and joints decided to scream with such a constrictive, vice-like pain that it felt as if I’d gotten the bends on dry land. I lost functioning in my hips, shoulders, neck, and arms, and didn’t regain full movement in my hands until just recently. If I was to hazard a guess just based on my symptoms, I’m going with alien pox from Neptune. It damn near wiped me off of this plane of existence. (At least it felt like it.)

But you want to know the worst part? As I was slowly starting to feel better, I still didn’t have the dexterity or strength in my hands, fingers, and forearms to type or even grip a pencil. And so I had all this free time on my hands and no ability to write down my thoughts or distract myself by creating a story.

And it was then that I realized how tenuous everything really is. As writers, we just sort of take for granted our ability to write. We think we’ll always be able to sit down when we have a thought and get that thought to the world. And what I found through my whole ordeal is that’s not necessarily the case. And I missed it. I desperately missed it. Being robbed of it was killing me even more than the alien pox.

All of this is why I’m going to ask you a question that as a writer, is actually somewhat difficult to answer.

Is writing fun? Do you enjoy it?

I only ask because it seems that writers fall in two camps.

1) Those who absolutely love it and write because they have amazing characters and stories that just need to come out of them.

2) Tortured souls who write because it tortures their soul a little bit more.

I remember being at a tiny writer’s conference at my college as a wide-eyed nineteen year old, amazed to be in the same room as a few moderately well known authors. Students like me and people from the community all packed ourselves into one of the classroom buildings to listen to these people read chapters from their books and participate in a bunch of Q&A sessions. Personally, I couldn’t wait. It was the first time I’d be able to talk with published authors and I couldn’t wait to be inspired by their enthusiasm for writing.

And then the older people from town and all the pretentious English students started asking questions. And it turned into this…

“What do you do when you’re staring at the page and every word is just a whip to the tender underbelly of the fragile, glass container you’ve built around what’s left of your soul? And you cry and you scratch at your face and pull out the hair around your temples and you just want to crawl into a bathtub and die alone with your murky, brackish thoughts and other vaguely writery sounding descriptions to let you know how deep and tortured my soul is. But you know you have to keep going. YOU. HAVE. TO. KEEP. GOING. Or you’ll perish. What do you do?”

And I’d be expecting the author to laugh at the stupidity of that question until he or she would answer with something like…

“We’ve all been there. Where each letter in each word in each sentence is like drinking the poison from an ex-lover’s cup of deceit. Rotting from the inside just hoping the maggots are kind enough to leave your heart alone… blah, blah, blah…”

And after enough similar questions and answers, I looked around the room and felt really, really… sad for all these people. I felt like an outcast simply because I actually liked and got excited about what I was doing. I just figured everyone else did as well because why would anyone voluntarily dedicate all that time to something that caused them to want to rip the hair out from their temples? You realize there are things like woodworking and stamp collecting and rebuilding motorcycles and other stuff out there, right? If you don’t enjoy it, please excuse my Portuguese but…

WHAT THE FUNK ARE YOU DOING?

There’s no reason to write if you hate every minute of it. And if you start finding yourself getting frustrated, just remember why you do it.

Because you get to spend a few minutes, a few hours, a few days imagining. Just freaking imagining! And daydreaming. And figuring out which words match your damn daydreams! Seriously, if that’s not fun to you, I will gladly give you the Neptune flu that made writing this blog moderately difficult.

Writing is fun, people. Even in the darkest, most frustrating moments. Never, ever forget that and you’re going to be just fine.

photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor via photopin cc

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