Monday, May 7, 2012

On Writing Through

I’m in the middle of a story that, for a variety of reasons, has been hard going. I’ve had a sense that something might be coming (in the story) that I won’t like. Or that I won’t want to face. Who knows? I’ve also had trouble finding time, the kind of mental space that’s necessary to face something difficult.

For me, difficult emotions have a way of crowding out everything else, including the desire to “work.”

One solution—constantly tempting—has been to just put the story aside and do something else. As writing goes, though, I’ve been down this road before, and I don’t believe it can bring me to a good outcome. Putting something aside means coming back to it—if ever—when you’re a different person, usually more than a year down the line. Your interests have changed; your worries too; sometimes even your style of writing has changed, be it ever so subtly. You come back … and you write it differently than you were writing it, and differently than you would and even should have, when you needed it most.

Not that there aren’t writing projects that should be put down. I mean, in the sense that you put down a horse. This isn’t one of those. It’s not misguided, at least in terms of my own artistic sense, whatever that is.

No, this is just one where I say: Am I going to face this, whatever is holding me back? Or am I going to turn away from it? And that’s a decision that a writer has to make, about how and who he or she wants to be, as a writer. For me, I’ve long since opted out of writing for any other reason than precisely this kind of soul-searching.

So if I’m going to grow as a writer, and as a human being, I need to press through this, whatever it is. I need to write my way through it. And really, deep down, I want to do that. I have enough faith in this process to know that it’ll be worthwhile. I’ll come out okay, and maybe more than okay. I just need a little patience, and that old-fashioned virtue they call perseverance.

Which reminds me of something else I was going to do …

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