I was looking back at some of my very old blog posts, and I came across a post I’d written about the frustration of talking about writing with non-writers. Here’s a snippet:
This morning I had a conversation with my best friend. We talk every morning and she asked me what I was doing today. I told her I was going crazy trying to fix the ending of a story. In edits I need one more scene to wrap up the plot and give the whole thing a more satisfying ending. Her response was:
“What do you mean?”
I thought I was pretty clear. The edits are driving me crazy. I don’t know quite how to fashion the last scene without it sounding lame.
“I don’t understand.”
What’s not to understand? She couldn’t seem to figure out why this was giving me trouble. Why didn’t I just WRITE it and be done with it? Since that’s what I do, it must come easy to me, and therefore there’s no need to ‘get crazy’ about it, or be frustrated. Just do it and be done with it and move on to something else.
It sounds great in theory. Writers write. Therefore writing should be the easiest thing in the world. Fix a scene? No problem. Presto, it’s fixed. Write a new ending for a story I originally finished last summer? Cake. Just do it.
Arrgh! Is it me, or do other writers suffer from this as well? Do your non-writer friends and family just assume that you sit down at your computer and write and that’s that? Do they think there’s no process, no rewriting, no editing, no tearing your hair out over dialogue that makes you cringe and narrative that gives you a rash when you read it? Do they think it’s never hard for you to do this and they can’t understand that some days it’s no easier than dragging your butt to an office and dealing with a boss who wants miracles on a daily basis? Sometimes finishing a story, or doing proper edits or writing a decent blurb or cover letter is like performing a miracle. You start with absolutely nothing – or scattered threads of something that don’t amount to very much material, and you pull it together and create something that works, and hopefully something that not only works, but SELLS. Why is it hard for people to understand that this is not EASY?
Tell me about a conversation you’ve had with a non-writer that left you confused, frustrated, annoyed, irritated or – maybe enlightened, energized or epiphanied? Epiphanized? Ephiphinated? Anything?