I've been writing since the sixth grade. I set up my mom's manual typewriter on an old school desk that my dad salvaged from his country schoolhouse. I used to spend summer nights in the nice, cool basement, listening to the radio, and typing away on my stories. I look back on those days with absolute fondness that has nothing to do with rose-colored glasses. It was a good time. It was a marvelous, creative, inspiring time. I conjured characters and insane plots and typed them all, meticulously recording how many pages I'd written on a lined sheet of paper I stuck to the concrete walls with a piece of black electrical tape.
I still have that piece of paper.
But as I have grown older and wiser in this writing gig, I realize that those heady first days of writing were not the norm. The norm also wasn't those dark days of despair when I sat and stared at the keyboard and not one single good idea emerged.
So what is the norm?
There are heady days full of joy and wonder. There are dark days full of angst and hand-wringing.
Both are intrinsic to the writing life. It's something I'm coming to accept more and more. When I get into a slump, I try not to panic because I know this is part of the cycle. The good part of the cycle will come back around again - I just have to survive long enough for it to show up.
Would it be nice if every single day was a gift from the writing gods, where they sprinkled amazing ideas, beautiful phrases, and witty dialogue into your brain? Sure. But then, would we really recognize the magic of writing if it was magical each and every day? Wouldn't it start to get, well...stale? Boring? Wouldn't magic become just...ordinary?
This is why we need both the good and the bad writing days - to help us keep our perspective, to help us experience all that the writing life has to offer. How else can we translate that experience onto the page? Answer: we can't.
So accept those down days, those days when the writing is hard and you want to chuck your keyboard through the nearest window. Be grateful for them because they show you just how good this writing gig can be.
Embrace them. Learn from them. Use them.
This post is part of the Wednesday postings for the Insecure Writers' Support Group.
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