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19 November 2009

Words, Balrogs, and other Curious Things


Gut wrenching or easy going? Sit down at the computer, fingers flitting two and fro, effortless in their pursuit of the next line? Or growling at the clock, wishing the second hand would move faster so you can log in your thirty minutes, knowing the only thing you've written was borrowed from a Gothic horror story: "It was a dark and stormy night".

I think we all experience both from time to time. I have had days when I woke up with a story in my bones, just aching to get out and dance across my notebook. Unfortunately, those days aren't the norm. I'm more of the drag myself to the table, coffee in one hand, reading glasses in the other. The words have to be pried from the crevices of my brain, my trusty crowbar jabbing and prodding as they scurry to darker corners. Then, when I do grasp them, they refuse to cooperate, smudging my paper, scampering from one corner to the next. Sometimes, out of sheer frustration, I swat at them, squashing them, smearing adjectives and adverbs unnecessarily between nouns and verbs. Jeez, what a mess.

I don't think writing comes easily for anyone all the time. Nor do I think it should. Writing is a hard business. I know many who would argue. So do you. Especially if you write for children or young adults. "I could write a children's book! No big deal." Grrr...don't even get me started with that one...

Personality quirks, bad hair days, the waxing and waning of the moon all affect us in varying ways. Some days I can wake up and be on top of the world. The very next, it's as if Pippin dropped a rock down the well and the Balrog awoke to storm the mines. On these days, my husband bravely plays the roll of Gandalf and I crack my fiery whip until I can no longer roar. If only every day could be fairies and unicorns and the goblins and trolls could stay under the bridges.

But would we grow if all were sunshine and daffodils? Would we learn more about our writing selves? Would we fully be able to grasp the depth and breadth of what we do if it were not for the dark places? I don't think so. As much as I love romping through the Elvin woods, there's something to be said for braving "the long dark of Moria".

All that matters is that we show up. Consistently. Faithfully. Whether we want to or not. Whether the Muse is sitting there, waiting for us, hot chocolate in hand or the demon sits on our chest and hisses all the reasons we should just stay in bed. We may pound out a sentence. We may produce a masterpiece. We may eek out a few feeble words or simply type over and over again, "I have nothing to say!!!" Regardless, get the words out. On the page. Be it computer or ball point pen, clacking old typewriter or a feather quill you carved yourself. It matters not how we feel. It matters not how the words come. What matters is that we're there to receive them when they do, come they by casual unveiling or ripping from the gut.
*image found here

9 comments:

willow said...

Excellent post. I think most of us can relate here. And don't forget those pesky hormones, along with all the waxing and waning!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

This is so beautiful, friend! And so true. I think we learn the most from writing when it's hard. But it's a lot more fun when everything clicks!

I love reading your words. You are so talented!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Sometimes I think if writing was so easy, the reward at the end wouldn't be as sweet, ya know?

Annette said...

Amen. Love the Lord of the Rings references. Me thinks that series needs to be watched yet again!

Jennifer, you are right (no pun intended). Writing when the words do not flow and then reading it later to be amazed at where all those words came from is sweet.

Blondie said...

Fantastic post Jen! You always keep me inspired. Have a great day girl! Kori xoxo

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

All so true....you are really a wonderful writer..and I LOVE the childrens book comment...

talk about difficult..I have been working on a couple of childrens books on and off..mostly off..for years...It is tough going...I am lucky in that some of my friends are published authors...and they keep me going....

More later and I really enjoyed the post....

Kary

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Jen, this post so spoke to my heart. It's as if you got inside me. The ups and downs are very difficult for me to handle. It helps to know others experience the same thing. Thank you.
Karen

Jen Chandler said...

Willow: You got that right!

Kristen: I thank you :) You're super kind.

Jennifer: That is so true but so hard to swallow sometimes.

Annette: Oh, now you've gone and done it (or did I do it?). I have to watch them...again!

Kori: Thanks! Glad to pass along the inspiration :) I always hope it helps someone along the way.

Kary: You are too kind. Thank you so much. I truly value and treasure such encouragement. I have a dear writer friend who keeps me writing even (and especially) when I don't want to. Keep at it!

Karen: I'm so glad this post spoke to you. It's a tiny glimpse into what I have been going through for several years now. The Balrog rears it's ugly head more often of late. I'm ready for the Fairies again! Carry on my friend! And keep writing.

Glynis said...

There have been days when all I have produced is one paragraph. I have felt that I wasted time. A few days later I will read through my ms and realise that the most powerful part, the best piece of writing is that one paragraph I felt was a time waster.
I have now learned to appreciate the term, every little helps. LOL
Great post :)