This is what epic love looks like.
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
~ Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades
It’s that insidious moment when you entertain the thought of giving up. It would be easy, possibly the easiest thing you’ve ever done. The stroke of a few keys would erase the struggle, loneliness, the fight for just the right word, and scratching for the time to write.
Does the very thought sadden you?
I hope so. It breaks my heart. When a writer I know gives up, says that’s it, I’m not this story-telling, creative being anymore, I ache for them. I ache because I understand.
After a late night of pulling words like splinters from my head and the grief of revising a story about death after the loss of my grandmother, I woke up to another sick kid, a mess to clean, and a toddler that won’t quit. I wondered if I had room in my head for a creative thought. Writing is many things. But most often, it’s hard.
I also ache because though its hard, when I imagine not writing, it scares the hell out of me. I’m many things beyond a writer, but it is essential to who I am when I look in the mirror. I tell the stories, pen the poems, not only for a connection with readers, but to connect with myself under the various “hats” I wear.
When I was young and silly, I believed that real love meant you didn’t have to work at it. Okay, you can stop snorting now. It’s a fable, a fabulous fairy tale that takes more than it gives. Real love requires you to get up at three a.m. and clean up after the sick kid, reach a compromise with your partner, or write through the pain and words that unwind before you can commit them to paper.
Let me be blunt: Writing is hard and it takes more than passion and talent. It requires epic love. Epic love often necessitates epic failure.
Do you love what you’re doing enough to fail for it?
I’ve written a lot about fear. It’s something I know about. Fear of failure too often held me back. Now, when I haven’t opened up my document for a while, or find myself utilizing every avenue of procrastination, I take a moment to reevaluate. Sometimes, the beast requires me to saddle up and go for a ride. I’ve done some of my best writing while strapped down, chasing the clouds. Don’t quit because you’re afraid to fail. Ride it out, or change your perspective.
Change your perspective by making a change in your lifestyle. Be kind to yourself- go for a walk or savor the texture and taste of a piece of fresh fruit. When you do it, acknowledge that it’s something your doing for yourself.
Tell the truth. Let someone know- other writers or anyone supportive of your goals- and accept the reasons they give you for not quitting.
Ask yourself: Why do I write?
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ”
I mentioned two of the reasons I write- connection with readers, connection with myself. I have other reasons. I write to teach my children what it requires to achieve a dream. I write because I can live, for brief moments, inside any world of my choosing. I write to show the people who’ve hurt me in the past that they have no power over me. I do it because the good writing days are better than sex, chocolate, and wine.
Yes, I’m struggling right now. It’s taken me five hours to write this post because life keeps interfering. For NaNo, I’ve only produced 10,931 words. I’ve had four hours sleep and I long for a nap or hot bath, but I have chicken noodle soup to make and a story to finish.
I refuse to quit.
If you’re walking the line between epic love and epic failure, don’t give up. I’m right here with you. Keep writing. We’ve got this.