Saturday, June 26, 2010

on pretending, or I LOVE WRITING!

"I hate writing.  I love having written" --Dorothy Parker

Yesterday, during our afternoon quiet time, Jabber decided to sit beside me and write his own book.  For reasons that are long and a bit inane, I have been referring to his book by the title A MILLION FLEAS.  He calls it PEPOL TRAPT IN A CAR.  I mean, it's a working title.

So yesterday he wrote a chapter ("The Car Rase") which, although tending toward bathroom humor, seemed a pretty good start.  He even made his own cover (I'll break it to him later how little control he'll have over cover design...) and did some illustrations (mini-van with flames).

Today during quiet time, I asked him if he was going to write chapter two ("The Jet Pac") while I was working on my Cassandra WIP.  He shook his head.

"No, I hate writing," he said.

"What?  Yesterday you loved working on your book with me."

"No, Mom.  It wasn't really fun.  I was just pretending it was fun."  And then he just...abandoned his WIP.  Such a promising premise, too!  (All right, I'm not entirely clear on the premise, but I feel sure he could have made it into something wonderful.)

At first, I was kind of upset--not that he didn't want to finish some story he was working on, but because he has been claiming today that he hates reading and writing.  That kind of broke my heart a little bit.

But then I realized--yeah, sometimes we all hate writing.  And a lot of the time the actual act of writing...well, it's not all that enjoyable.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love having written.  I love to reread it.  Sometimes I even like to revise it.  But writing isn't easy, and it isn't something that, for me, just flows like water, like breathing.  It isn't always fun.  But even so, I keep doing it, and in fact, I feel wrong if I'm not doing it, even though I will at times go to great lengths to avoid doing it.  At other times I'll do it, but only for the promise of rewards: if I write a thousand words, I get to shower.  If I write another thousand, I can eat.  Does that sound like fun?

So, I know there are writers for whom writing is always a source of pure joy.  I know there are others who always find it a struggle and have to drag themselves to the page.  And others have the sort of complicated relationship with writing that I do--I love it but I dread it.  When I'm not writing, I long to be, and when I'm supposed to be writing, I'll scrub the kitchen floor to get away from it.

How about you?  Is writing fun, or do you just pretend that it is?  And wherever you fall on that spectrum, what's your favorite part of the process?


Lisa said...

I'm a lot like you. I crave when I'm doing something else and CAN'T get to it. I struggle with it and avoid it when it's time to put my butt in the chair and write.

hannah said...

I'm like you too, but to an even greater extent, maybe...I'm very very vocal about hating writing. And I usually hate reading what I write. But...I do it anyway. And I don't know if I'll ever really get why. For attention, prolly.

Kristan said...

Thank you for blogging this! Another online writer friend of mine had earlier blogged about how writers "ought" to love writing, not having written, and I was really torn, because the truth is I am somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I love writing, sometimes I don't. But I always love having written. And like you said, I feel "wrong" when I'm not writing. And I always want to be writing. Until I finally can. Then I surf the internet or deep clean my bathroom (took me 1 whole hour today!) to avoid it.

Does that mean I'm not gonna do it? Heck no. Does that mean I'm not gonna make it? DEFINITELY not.

I guess what I realized is, I don't know ANYONE who ALWAYS loves their job. Why should writers be any different?

Nomes said...

haha. you son sounds awesome. Love it!

And, yeah, echoing you and the other commenters - me too!

Jen said...

that quote at the top there is absolutely the most accurate thing ever.

amy said...

I hate writing, but I hate every other kind of work ten times more.

signed, lazypants

elissa said...

hee! thanks for chiming in, guys! it's so complicated because...I don't *hate* writing, not exactly (though amy is right, I do hate all other work, too :P). and sometimes I really do love it even while I'm writing, in this anxious-excited-anxious kind of way. and when I give myself permission to have like a week off...just read lots of books and play with my kids or whatever...after a while I get all twitchy and missing it.

Aqua Splash said...

I am not at all like you. When my mom tells me to do some chores, i head straight to my laptop open a word document and shout: "Mom, can't do it now, I'm writing!" but usually, i'm already at the word document when she calls me. I get about 6-8 pages in everyday if i dedicate the whole day to my story.