Nancy m. long
Writing is an exercise in bipolar ideation.
I can’t speak for everyone but for me writing is both a horrible and fantastic roller coaster ride filled simultaneously with feelings of supreme genius and crushing moments of self pity at my own incapability.
When you find that first string of an idea and start pulling, it’s like falling in love. With each tug you’re finding out more about your story and characters, they’re fascinating, romantically disturbing and have the ability to haunt you throughout the day. You let the ideas grow, writing down everything that’s coming in clips, trying to capture the mood in music playlists and artwork. Then it’s ready. You have a strong outline, you can watch it all like a movie in your mind. You really feel it.
That’s when the wall hits.
It’s the moment in the relationship where you actually have to put in the work. It’s no longer daydreaming. But when you start writing, nothing sounds right. It doesn’t match what you see in your head, it’s clunky, sounds childish, painful to read back. As a result, you feel clunky and childish and like you don’t have the skills to bring your creation to life. You’re an armrest writer who doesn’t actually produce anything. But you’ve put all your eggs in this basket instead of developing a real career that would suck your soul out through your bellybutton but pay in real life money.
Except for those flights of inspiration where you write furiously for three hours straight in a manic high, you live in this mental tar pit until you’re done (subjectively done) with a project. It’s that done feeling that makes it worth it. You’ve produced something that you love through heartache and dedication. You’ve brought something solid and real into the world that has the power to infect the minds of anyone who reads it. It’s a deep resonating satisfaction.
Now you have to convince people to buy it. This is a different pit entirely. Though this one doesn’t sting as badly because now you have company. You and your story are in it together. As long as you love it and know that it’s well put together and professionally edited then no criticism can get you. But if there’s any doubt...
Then one day, you find yourself wandering and you find a piece of string. You pull on it and the process starts all over again. You shelve your last story as you fall head over heels with the next, looking back occasionally to judge it harshly by new and higher standards brought about by this new, and clearly superior story.
Writing isn’t a hobby. It’s a mental condition.