So, that’s not entirely true. I say that the same way I say, “I hate my life.” I don’t actually hate my life, but sometimes I hate parts of it. And sometimes all those parts I hate get together all at once and I say “I hate my life,” but what I mean is that I hate the part I’m going through now. Which is what I’m saying now. I hate writing!
I follow a fair number of professional and semi-professional writers on Twitter. Some of them like to tweet nightly about how much they wrote — 900 words, 1200 words, 1800 words.
I’m not that consistent. I never have been. Yesterday I sat down to write and ended up removing 600 words more than I added. It wasn’t the words. I think I wrote fine words — a rare confidence — but rather the content. What I wrote was factually inaccurate. Oh sure, I was writing what I knew of a story that appears in novels and even scholarly papers, but it didn’t happen in reality. So it got cut. Gone.
I’m used to big cuts. I make a lot of them, usually because the words themselves are wrong. What I’m not good at is replacing those words. I struggle for each and every word. (Blogging is different, lower stakes, more like a journal.)
When I did NaNoWriMo two years ago, I set a daily goal and worked constantly to meet it. I went into it with a friend, and after a couple of weeks she was behind and I was at my goal. Then, in the final stretch, she hammered out all the words she needed. All in the course of a night she hammered out thousands of words. It’s a feat I’m not capable of and I envy her for her ability to just open up on a page and pour out on it hopes and fears, action and drama, living characters. Two years later, her story is still a work in progress, but mine has been abandoned.
I had to. After two years and very little work on other things, it was still a bad story.
“You don’t know your characters”
“You don’t know…”
And so it’s gone, and I hate writing.