Friday, June 17, 2011

Writing is hard.... until it's not

Writing is hard. Until it isn't anymore. And then, for some reason, it's like breathing. You stare at the screen and every sentence is like a marathon, coming to the end with a gasp and a collapse from fatigue. Then there's the moment when it all comes together. You sit down, you stare at the screen, and without hardly touching the screen you see your word count explode.

The more books I write the more I begin to realize that a novel is usually written in about 15-20 good sittings, with about three to five times as many bad sittings in between. As writers, we pray for those days, hoping that the novel will just 'happen'. Most of the time this is wishful thinking; but on those days when the story and the characters and the tone are all right, you land in the zone. No way to stop it. Wouldn't try, even if it were possible. That's just all there is to it.

As a result I often find myself wanting to skip the bad sessions, the ones where you can't seem to stay away from Facebook, and you absolutely HAVE TO check your email every five minutes to see if something new and cool has come in. Or anything at all for that matter. Those days when suddenly you realize how badly the house needs cleaned, or how desperately you want to indulge in that pet hobby of yours.

However, I find this to be virtually identical to my walk with Christ. I don't give up the day-to-day walk just because they aren't peak days. I want to, and I often try, but it's the act of being faithful, day after day, pushing through the rough sessions where nothing is gratifying, and nothing is working, where you are able to find the magic. Only by the discipline of doing what we are called to--every day, do we find ourselves having that one day when it all seems to fall together, and it feels like a glass of ice water in the Sahara.

And that's why we write.

1 comment:

Jillian Kent said...

Awesome post, Conlan. I'm in the bad session time. Can you tell? :) And the house IS a mess, and I keep hoping these revisions will just happen. And it's my hubby's birthday and tomorrow is father's day and . . .