If Wishes Were Manuscripts Beggars Would Write

Sometimes, I'm one of those glass half-full people.  You know the type.  The kind of people who always see the positive in even the bleakest situations.  The people who not only appreciate what they have, they celebrate it.  Other times, I feel like the liquid in the glass is disappearing before my very eyes.  Like it will evaporate before I even get a sip.

It's the story of my writing life.  The glass is never full.  There is always something more to work toward, something more to do make the manuscript better.  Another detour on the path to publication.  Another rung on the ladder to climb. 

Yet, there are days when writing is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done.  When getting a scene, a character, a line, or even a word just right is enough to make me feel blessed.  There are days when a story comes together and takes root in my heart, when I hit on the one thing that makes me want to commit to three hundred pages and then revise for the next six months.  There are days when I discover the secret the main character has been hiding, or the missing piece of the plot that brings everything together.  Days when I sit down to write at ten and don't get up until four, when I realize I haven't eaten anything.  And on these days I think, "I'm a writer."  Yes!  Love those days!

Other days, even opening the document feels like a monumental task, and if I manage that, I end up writing the same sentence over and over again.  Write, erase, repeat.  Write, erase, repeat.  Read some Twitter posts.  Hang out on the Blueboard.  Write, erase.  Read some blogs.  Walk the dog.  Send an email.  Hit refresh.  Hit refresh.  Hit refresh.  Write fifty words.  Plan a new book based on a shiny new idea. Call it a day.

There are worse days, dark days, when the glass is nearly empty.  When I wonder if I'll ever finish another manuscript.  When I wonder if I've used up all my good stories, characters, lines, words.  When I'm paralyzed by a white page and a blinking cursor.  Completely drained.  And on these days I think "I'm a fake."

So which is it?  Am I an optimist?  A pessimist?  A procrastinator?  A fake? 

I am a writer.  

The doubts, the fear, the dark days are as much a part of writing as the prolific days when the story seems to write itself.  For me, writing is a series of manic-depressive bouts that somehow coalesce into something resembling a story.  It's like childbirth.  As painful as it is, I can't ever regret it. And after a little bit of distance, I'm ready to do it all over again.  

That blinking cursor's got nothing on me.

*Yes, that is a random picture of the Saint Bernard of Doom playing basketball.*


Sadly, your "dark days" paragraph is a pretty good description of my writing process this week. On a bright note, I love random dog pix! Here's hoping today is one of those forget-to-eat ones :)

Four things my friend Thomas Edison used to say:
1) Show me a thoroughly satisfied individual — and I will show you a failure.
2) Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
3) I never did a day's work in my life, it was all fun!
4) Nice dog!

So true. Sometimes writing leaves me feeling so fulfilled I almost burst. Other days I'm a wilted heep on the floor.

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