Really, it’s not very romantic at all…or is it?

I was spotted by some mommies when I was sitting with my laptop writing in one of our local coffee shops.

 

“Ohhhhh,” they said. “Look at you. You have the best job ever!”

I couldn’t stop myself–laughter poured out of me, until both ladies were looking at each other, questioning my sanity I could only suppose.

You see, people–non-writers that is–have a romantic notion of what it is to be a writer. They see me curled up alone at a table. My hair piled up in a high bun, a thick scarf wrapped tightly around my shoulders and neck, a large latte in front of me. They see comfort, coziness, self-indulgence. They imagine me spending my days idly writing to my heart’s content while the real world continues on with its demands.

They don’t see me screaming inside because I’ve rewritten a scene a hundred times minimum and it’s still not quite right. Or lying awake at night figuring out plot structures that have been evading me for what feels like eternity. Or when I get super grumpy (on an almost daily basis) because there is just not enough waking hours for me to accomplish what I aim to, because–yes, the demands of the real world still affect writers. And they don’t see me wondering what the &*^&* I’m doing this for–because it’s not like any money is involved. So, in a sense, it’s not a job at all.

They only see me doing exactly what I want.

And do you know what? They’re right.

I get to disappear into a world, one that lets me explore it fully. Nowhere else do I get to go inside people’s heads and know them as I do my characters. Nowhere else do I get to stop and look around, and decide what’s best, and what obstacles are needed. And nowhere else do I get to play with words and story.

I stopped laughing and said,

“It’s hard. Writing is not easy. But, yes, it’s the best job ever.”

 

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Choo-choo!!!

Writing is hard work. It’s time-consuming, energy-consuming. It’s not the type of work that ever goes away. It can haunt you in the middle of the night, intrude of your thoughts at any time of day — no matter what you are doing. (Kind of like being a mom, if I think about it.)

Sometimes, when I am reading my work, re-writing, editing, I see something that doesn’t quite fit, or doesn’t flow, or doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t, or doesn’t. And sometimes, I think, it’s not major, it really doesn’t matter. Why spend time on it when there are places in my work that really need attention?

This doesn’t last long. Often, the thought is never even completed. I can’t let anything be in my work that I don’t think is the best I can make it today. I can’t coddle myself, and say, ah, you’re right. Even if no one else thinks it can be better – I know it can.

I am coming to terms with the type of writer I am. I will spend a day on a page, adjusting, making it right. And this means progression is slow. And I’m hard on myself. I don’t let anything slide.

That said, I’m trying something new. I am trying to move along in my work, attempting to get myself further in, and not allow myself the indulgence of getting all blurry-eyed over the location of a coma, or whether a paragraph should be spliced, or whether the cadence is just right. I’m pushing myself, altering things quicker, not staring at the words so long, not playing so much. And it’s working. I am progressing faster, and at the same time I am happy with the quality of my work — I don’t find it any less substantial, or weaker at all. I’m still not coddling myself, I’m just being more diligent. I’m glad my patience was yelling at me, telling me to get a move on.

Sometimes, perfectionism is just another form of procrastination.

 


Keep shoveling

There’s mountains of snow that fell between last night and now. Spring break was last week, and my son went to school today with the hopes of building a snowman. It’s all part of life in Canada. I think we need to rename spring break, or perhaps we need to change the date.

My husband was late for work, shovelling, my son was late for school – you got it, because we were shoveling out the car. I missed baby group, yup, ’cause I didn’t feel like shoveling again. It just doesn’t stop falling.

I’ve been writing, and playing with kids while they were home for the week, and doing all the grown-up stuff required of me this last week, so there’s been no time for blogging. It also means my planned post about de-cluttering is not written, and will be next (I hope).

I recently began taking violin lessons again. I was chatting with my teacher about the language of music, and I happened to mention that I’m a writer. She said, playing the violin is much harder than writing.

The thing about writing is we can make it as easy or as hard as we want it to be. I choose to make writing very difficult. I like multitudes of layers, composition that is seemless. The more I work, the less you as a reader do. And you get more out of the read. I can get lazy when it comes to snow, but as for the writing, I won’t ever stop shoveling.