Writing is brutal business. You think and you worry and you’re scared to death, but you still feel compelled to bare your soul to the world, wondering if you’re going to get back in one piece. Then you want to write but you’re frozen because you’re scared to death over what everyone is going to think . It really is a ridiculous process. You really have to be called to write. You have to know this is what you want to do. Otherwise it will tear you up and throw you to the side of the road. The Muses are not benevolent mistresses. It literally is gut wrenching work. Yet me and many others continue to do it. We continue to face the resistance or fear. Or we run away from it. There are days we let it distract us. We let it lull us into a protected web of TV watching and web surfing. I have done more TV watching and web surfing since I became a full time writer than any other point in my life (except when I had surgery). Of course it doesn’t help that I work at home.
Writing is not for wimps. It’s not for people who want to make an easy living or want to make money (fast or at all). It’s hard work. And most of the time no one notices. And yet millions of people in the past and present and millions in the future will bow to this brutal mistress and start putting words onto a page. Writing can be a relentless mistress who will make you grovel. But when you get it right… When the words flow… When you read back over a paragraph and wonder where the hell did that piece of art come from… It’s divine. When someone says that they read a piece of yours and liked it, loved it; it made them think; may be it will even change their lives, for awhile you forget the fear, self-doubt, and endless solitary hours. It must be like forgetting the pain of childbirth, once you hold the baby in your arms. Another divine moment.
So we writers keep plugging along. Sitting down everyday at the computer or the typewriter, or with a notebook and pen or pencil, and keep facing up to the doubt, the fears, the sheer resistance we feel at putting our very souls onto the page. When we finally get it right (after multiple drafts, breakdowns, and lots of chocolate), it can look so easy. But don’t fool yourself. It’s never easy. And it will never be easy.
Most of the time I have a love/hate relationship with my craft and its Muse. I’m not sure you can have any other relationship when you work in a creative field.
What about you? What creative work do you do? How do you feel about it? What kind of relationship do you have with your craft and your muse?