January 9, 2008
I was one of those kids who wrote all the time. I wrote when I wanted to and when I was forced to, backdating entry after entry of summer journals I had to keep for high school writing classes, going so far as to change pen color to heighten the false realism. In earlier years I filled composition books with assorted character sketches and the first 500 words to at least as many stories. I graduated to more refined notebooks as a teenager, still nothing above what I could find in the dinky school aisle at the CVS, and posed on their pages what seem now to be tiny questions reflective of a tiny world. But I was insanely proud of those collections of my thoughts, bundles of inflated SAT words and hours of thought that took up no more than a single shelf in my closet.

I used to love writing more than most anything, and not just because my teachers told me I could do it relatively well. It was my red hardcover dictionary, my beloved blue ball points that under no circumstances erased. It was the process of stringing letters and sentences together like popcorn garland. I loved the whole delicious sequence. I once ripped up a blue book, one already half filled with fiction, to take another direction for a high school writing test. Because I could. Because I wanted to. Time constraints meant nothing because they never really can in the absence of pressure. Writing was fun, a sentiment I know could not peg me more as one on the popularity fringe. That scrambling and unscrambling of words was almost effortless unlike those subjects involving Bunsen burners or scientific calculators or circular saws. Or worse, perhaps, the dreaded softball bat.

It’s almost never the same now. The ideas and the process at times seem so forced, like I’m chugging along in wet clothes, like I’ve run out of usable memory. For something that was once so easy, there are days when I want to do few things less. Sit with my thoughts for an hour? There must be something Tivod to zone out to. If not, there’s surely a cat claw to clip or a pile of whites to ignore. Occasionally I’ll refuse the exercise altogether, knowing full well if I didn’t have a site to keep me on point that I’d do the life equivalent of pulling the covers over my head. In dramatic fashion, I’d avoid the computer altogether and regard the bespectacled, wool-sweatered WiFi-ers at Starbucks with disdain. Because it should be different. Because I should still love it oodles more than just more often than not. Because for the others it probably still comes easy.


Blogger KlevaBich said...

Sounds like your writing is very comparable to my art. Things get in the way. Chores to do. Mindless TV watching or internet surfing. I'm just tired.

But YOU, my dear, have just posted a fresh entry. I have not created ANYTHING for days, weeks, months.

OK, gotta go, Wife Swap is on.

Blogger Jürgen Nation said...

Yep. That.

Le sigh.

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

Normally Kris, I'd tell someone else to lay it down for a while, take it easy, try to get their joy back.

That is NOT my advice (if I may be so bold as to give it) to You.

The process of an Artist is never easy, working on yourself isn't either but as to your last post, you know it's Worth it.

You are moving through something here and just like walking through sand, it's going to be a struggle until you get to where you are going. There are plenty of folks (like myself) who can write easily, but that doesn't mean we are any good at it! Consider this struggle as a Part of the Creative Process. If you were to look at Authors, Painters etc... you would see that most didn't just whip a work up whole, they considered many diffeent things and created when they were moved/forced to.

Anyway, take my Advice- I'm certainly not using it!

Blogger BJ said...

Writing at times is very hard for me, too.. especially blogging x.x

Sometimes to shake this nasty heavy handedness I buy a new pack of colorful pilot pens.. or a fresh stack of legal pads.

God I love legal pads..

If I've been an exceptionally good girl.. I get an expensive spiral, like a five star? Just because it's expensive..

Blogger Dr. Bad Ass said...

I think writing gets harder as we get older because our expectations of quality in our writing keep getting higher. It's hard to do anything with another person (really ourselves) looking over our shoulder and making comments like "That's really stupid." or "What do you think you're doing? You should be working out." or "Just give up already -- you sound like a freshman in high school." This is what MY editing head says -- you can't allow your editing head to interfere with your creating head.

But other commenters are right -- you did write a blog post! So good on you!

Blogger Paperback Writer said...

I have almost 50 journals/diaries/notebooks filled with crap. Writing, fiction, bad poetry, clippings, pictures, you name it, it's in there. And I haven't stopped. It's still crap. And will always be crap.

But you are right. Nowadays it doesn't feel...as...good? As pleasurable? as it used to be.


Blogger Raz said...

I was one of those kids, too. Our old laptop is filled with numerous "beginnings", which might one day go on to be great novels. My problem now is I'm required to do so much writing not for pleasure, that writing for pleasure as well just seems perverse. Watching mindless TV is just so much easier.

Blogger Gwen said...

I think writing gets harder because we become so much more self-conscious about it. I wrote happily when I was younger because I wasn't so aware of whether I sounded hip or cool or funny or right. I just liked it.

In that regard, blogging doesn't really help, does it?

Blogger Alison said...

No, it doesn't come easy for the others. Not this one, anyway.

Blogger tNb said...

Nope, definitely doesn't come easy. I'm always inspired when I read great writing like yours so thank you for stringing together today's popcorn garland!

Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

You obviously haven't become that too far gone as evidenced by the great post :)

Save it for when inspiration strikes - it should be fun, otherwise, what's the point?

Blogger Dave said...

Had assumed this post would be about Hootie and the Blowfish’s universally maligned sophomore disaster “Fairweather Johnson.”


Blogger kitkat said...

My relationship with writing has been similar. Maybe it's because when we were children, we imagined all the fascinating things that could be in our lives. We didn't have much life experience, so what was left was our imaginations. Now, as adults, we're acquiring real experiences and we're faced with the reality of paying bills and doing laundry. Where is there room for imagination? Fantasy? But that would never happen! I tell myself. That's not real!

I went to a conference once where there were some young women sharing some creative non-fiction. It's essentially what we do as bloggers--write about real life, but make it funny, make it interesting, tell it from a unique perspective. I think that's where I feel most comfortable writing.

Blogger EDW said...

There's really nothing like crafting a well-written piece of writing on why it's hard to write. ;-)

Blogger Zandria said...

For me, inspiration has come and gone over the years. Nothing wrong with that. You'll get it back, too.

Blogger deanne said...

nope it doesn't come easy. i hate it when it feels forced but sometimes forcing it is a good thing to remain in practise. make sense?

Blogger Jen said...

I've come to the same conclusions. Reading your entry was like looking in the "mirror". How I long to fill a notebook of stories that go nowhere and poetry that only means something to myself!

Blogger Chris said...

I feel the same way, often.

Blogger Mamalujo said...

I hear you, sister.

Blogger Buffy said...

Get out the real notebook. Not the electronic one.

Blogger Spirophita said...

I think the necessity lies in not having the other things take up your brain, your time. I think like computers, too, we're out of memory. Too much processing, and eventually you overheat and err-out. I feel like that most days.

But then somedays, I feel inspired, and that's when I write my academic work. I think the key is to ride the wave, instead of defaulting to the usual (the TiVo, the claws). When you feel like writing, whether it's 2 AM, 5 PM, or during work, you put things aside and just do it.

I know you still have it in you! :)

Blogger gorillabuns said...

sometimes it IS easier to veg-out. this is coming from a person who who tries to escape quite often.

Blogger Jorge said...

I don't know who it comes easy to.

But it's definitely not me.

It's one of those things that drives you crazy. The harder you try, the less natural it feels.

And that's what you want.

You write like you talk, love. That's amazing.

And when you talk, it's not forced.

So just relax and write when the mood takes you.

The moments in between are meant to leave us all in suspense. Hanging from the last word before the next one always offers a great view.

Blogger anni said...

I have deleted two previous lots with actual history because they came to feel like crap. I so hate that and agree with just about all the comments up above. Glad I found your blog.

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