Don’t Just Bleed. Hemorrhage.

8733875890_a377fe7bb8_mSomeone once asked me what writing was all about. I was tempted to answer in superlatives of prose – a fulfilling reverie, a cathartic epiphany, a literary orgasm that leaves you happily spent.

But, I bit back the momentary gush of verbiose. For writing is none of those glorified, intellectually rarefied and abstract moments of feathery flourish that people will have you believe.

No, writing is far messier. It’s about having your nose to the grindstone, not knowing when the grinding will stop. I remember laboring over one of my manuscripts for ten months. Yes, you read that right. TEN MONTHS. That’s like eons in writing years.

And I still only had my first draft. Which meant I was probably only 20% done in terms of getting it published!

Writing’s about growing a four-inch-thick layer of blubber that arrows and harpoons can effortlessly bounce off. Believe you me, you’ll need it.

Ask any writer who’s hung his work out there to dry. You’ll be asked who taught you to construct sentences. You’ll be deep-fried for being too descriptive. You’ll be smoked and barbecued for being too terse.

You’ll be roundly chided for thinking anyone would ever read your literary misadventure that seems to run all over the place yet go nowhere. And, oh! Yes, you’ll be called names. And, guess what? That’s just for starters. Scratch four, make that six inches.

424555098_380f80664f_mWriting is another word for fighting with yourself. I remember, for my first novel, I fought (with myself, of course) to keep myself on the planned plot outline. I fought over the names of the characters, some of which honestly sounded more cockamamie than call names of your average one-year-old tot.

I fought over the book title. I fought over which was more important: Writing? Or other inconsequential things like sleep, grub and social company? I fought over the mode of publishing, the amount of marketing I’d force upon myself, and practically anything else I could possibly fight over.

I fought. Period. And, boy! Did I lose! Did I also win? I don’t remember.

So, like some great soul once said: “There’s nothing to writing. You just sit in front of a typewriter and bleed.”

Maybe that’s all there is to it. Just bleed.

And have a hemorrhage while you’re at it.

If all that sounds a bit of a dampener for a newbie writer reading this, it’s meant to be. Writing’s not for everyone. Not because it’s an intellectually exclusive activity. But because it’s mentally draining. Physically wracking. And psychologically scathing. It puts you through the wringer like no other profession can.

If you still feel you should write, go right ahead and take the plunge into the ink. Who knows? You’re probably the one Morpheus is searching for.

NOTE: This post is part of the On Writing series on this blog. Read the next post in this series: 5 Ways To Get Off Your Newbie Writing Ass.

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