Writing is an Amazing, Unmatched, Positively Wonderful Pain in the Rear End
The initial feeling of liberty that comes with letting your fingers fly across the keyboard or your pen scribble along the page is a fantastic moment of creativity and invincibility.
Ideas and thoughts that were never fully formed come to life on the page, through your hands. Your teeth and tongue could never do what your fingertips are accomplishing.
At some point though, that freeing momentum must end, and it’s time to read the most inspired passage of text you’ve ever sketched.
As you read, the immense joy and inspiration dissipate slightly with the prospect at hand. There’s something here — an idea that must be shared with the world — but it’s not waving at you from its home on the page like you first thought. Instead, its cry is muffled by a solid block of ranting marble.
To salvage your work, you must channel the disciplined sculptor and start chiseling out the masterpiece within. Start whittling. You might nick yourself with the tools. You might feel unsure if you can continue. Unsure if there’s any reason to continue. Just put a bandage on and keep molding.
Only you can see it at first, but the further you carve, the more apparent the form will become. The work will be tedious, shaving off the rough patches to reveal a smooth form beneath.
A final polish with super fine grit paper, and it is finished. Ready to share with the world. With your piece in the museum that is your blog, Medium, or the op-ed section of the newspaper, you’ve done it. You moved past fleeting inspiration and sweated through to reveal a final product. It’s out of your hands so it can be found in the eyes of others.
Despite its smooth finish, the perfectly shiny masterpiece will only glisten from a certain angle. Not all viewers will appreciate the work in the same way its creator does. Some will give it a passing nod as they move on to other works. Others will see it up close and relate with every bump and crevice.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
— An amalgamation of quotations from a bunch of writers that weren’t Hemingway
This piece was originally published April 25, 2018 on Redoubtable.