I was Guest of Honor at Phoenix Con, a Dublin-based sf/f convention, this last weekend, and at one of the panels–the topic of which was “writing with a full time job” but which kind of just got off on “writing in general”, and in which we were discussing the daily slog of writing–a woman asked, “Does it ever get easier?”
All three of us on the panel said, resoundingly, “No!”
The poor woman looked utterly crushed.
The thing is, though, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t. Some years ago I was at the gym and there was a woman in her, oh, late sixties, who was in fantastically good shape and who I saw there every morning. She was discussing her gym habits with someone else, and said, “I’ve been getting up and going to the gym every morning for the last twenty years, and I still have to *make* myself get out of bed every day.”
Yeah. Like that. Only with the words.
I mean, sure, there are days where you’re on fire and you don’t want to do anything but write and it’s all coming along brilliantly and rah rah rah go team go! But there are a hell of a lot more days when you just have to get up and write whether you want to or not; days when every word is like pulling teeth; days when it is, yes, a *total* slog to get anything done, and it never gets any easier.
Today is one of those days, if you hadn’t guessed.
I’ve broken 100K on this book–the one I was hoping to have done by the beginning of March (which would’ve been only a month late :p) and which I was unable to work on for three weeks due to smashing my hand. I am, unsurprisingly, pretty much exactly 3 weeks further behind than I intended on being. Sigh. Anyway. Broke 100K, and left a scene hanging while I went off to the convention. I left it hanging for two reasons: one, I know what happens in it, so starting up again theoretically isn’t hard. This is always a good thing when faced with any kind of a break.
Reason #2, however, is that this scene is a slog, and finishing it /is/ hard, which is why I didn’t manage to get it done before going to the con. It’s pivotal. It has to work. And while I’m a great fan of “you can’t fix a blank page”, this is one of those bits that while it can be polished later, needs to work *now*, or I won’t be able to get past it. So I’m spending a lot of time staring at the computer screen, not actually writing because the idea of writing is intimidating. When I do write, it’s a sentence or two, and then I worry about whether they’re the right ones, and I sit there being uncertain of what to write next, and I try to see if the whole thing flows together, and…slog slog slog.
I need to write something on the order of 60K over the next 2 weeks to get this book done (and give it an edit pass) before the end of April, which is SO MUCH LATER than I want to turn it in it makes me very unhappy. I can’t really afford to indulge in the slog mindset. Which means, I suppose, that writing this post is my way of kicking myself in the butt, and that I had better go chew through the rest of this scene whether I like it or not.
*grinds teeth and slogs off*