Pushing an elephant up a mountain.
The above is how I best describe the feeling and torment I endure pretty much everyday of my professional and recreational writing life.
Sure, in a newspaper environment, especially a daily one, meeting deadline is all the pressure and incentive you really need to write but still, some days, I have to really lean my shoulder into Dumbo’s backside to get him up that mountain.
Most writers deal with procrastination, it is in our writer DNA. When most interns I have trained or family and friends ask how I write as I much as I do, I usually tell them, truthfully, I have no idea.
The actual process does have a magical quality to it, when I really think about it. There is this strange “manna from heaven” moment that unfolds. The whirling words, facts and ideas all seem to align, float down and just take over when the time is right to dance the Fandango with your fingertips across the keyboard and to wax poetic….just like that sentence, where did that really come from?
I doubt in all my years of writing professionally I have written those words…ever, and now I just tossed them down (and made them work mind you) in one sentence no less.
Whether I am writing my short stories, working on a book, blogging, feature writing or filing daily news, the struggle between the elephant and prose on the page always occurs for me.
I’ve delivered stories under some intense and trying circumstances but there was always that moment, even that minute or two under the time crunch, when I’ve looked at my notes, looked at the screen and thought, “Where do I begin?” Then, it takes one word, one quote, one mining of facts and threading of themes to find that nugget and I am off to the races.
The Toronto Star recently had a great piece about writers sharing their rituals of writing and that is what inspired this post. How about you fellow writers? Is it a struggle? Is procrastination your friend or nemesis? Do you have your own elephant you push up a mountain?