Friday, January 10, 2014

Is Writing Painful?

I read somewhere this last month that “the cold causes brain freeze”. Although not a normal response for me, I found this winter’s cold responsible for a big brain freeze. Normally, I look forward to January as the snow and cold make for my best writing. This year the cold, ice and snow started in December annihilating the holiday season. Then another attack arrived in the first of January. I found I had trouble focusing on reading even the best of books and writing was, well, non-existent.

Finally at the first of this week I could again set my bottom in the office chair (and it did still fit somewhat after the holidays!) to write. I warmed up and gradually got going. All week, I had the tendency to postpone a bit, but long talks with myself shamed me to the desk. This is not writer’s block I am talking about because I have numerous ideas, one special one ready to go. I just did not know how to begin, dreaded to begin, or something. But I begin I did. My mind did start to thaw.

Then a new kind of writing pain comes to the front. When I get into the swing of a good story, I don’t want to stop. Who wants to leave 1850’s Illinois or 1890 cowboy Kansas or modern day Santa Fe for cooking a meal, laying a table, cleaning up dishes or swishing a toilet or paying bills? I feel torn away from my characters and their lives when I have to step back into the real world. I want to stay with them, to see where they go and what they do next. I do NOT want to leave their world for a door bell, a phone, or a hungry face even if it is my own. This morning I wrote a death scene and am glad to have finished, at least before revisions. Now a break and then I will do the sex scene. Oh mercy, how will THAT go?

There is another kind of pain with writing, the physical. I try to exercise early in the morning to warm up my muscles as well as my mind. Yet some days the writing comes first or other life intervenes. When I sit at the computer, I tend to sit in one position. When the words start flowing like lava, I don’t stop but hammer quickly to get them all down while I can. Then when I do take a break, I find standing up means aching in the old hips and thighs. The shoulders might be as unyielding as a windmill blade if the story action was fast or the scenes fraught with angst.

Of course, there is yet the pain from an editor dismissing Miss Ellie’s charm as a seductress or ignoring completely the song a reader might hear from Dandy Dan’s Irish tenor on the page. Rejection is yet another pain in writing, but that is another story.

Do you find writing painful?


Sioux said...

Claudia--The writing process itself? I wouldn't call it painful.

However, when our writing is rejected--THAT is painful.

(How about combining the sex and the death scene? Make the love so intense that it ends in...well, just an idea. ;)

Grandma Swift said...

Yes, in some ways. I just can't begin. I can't get the ideas out of my head. I think maybe because they are incomplete and half formed. I want to be able to give birth to the story or the idea in full form, but that keeps me from beginning sometimes.

But now I am wondering. The sex scene after the death scene? Hmmm. Did someone get rid of someone ala David and Bethsheba? Now I want to read your story!

Rebecca said...

You do a good job writing about your pain in trying to write. That ought to count for SOMEthing!

Are you reading when you can't write? And if so, what are your reading these days? (I SO need some good titles.)

Linda O'Connell said...

I have had trouble focusing on my writing and reading. Two and half weeks off and I had every intention, but when my butt wasn't numb, my mind was. Now I am on a roll and have sent out seven. Now to get seven acceptances. Ha! I am impressed with your publishing credits. Your story ideas are amazing. Happy writing.

Marylin Warner said...

Writing is the hardest--and most welcome--activities in my day, Claudia. Several years ago, for Christmas my husband gave me a colorful electronic timer. Now, when I sit down to write, I set the timer for 60 min. When the musical chimes play, I save my work, stand and do stretches and hand exercises (or if other chores are lined up, I'll do them.) Then I will write another 60 min. I also work in a walk or an indoor jaunt on the stepper, etc. All the time I exercise, do work, walk, etc., I keep thinking about the scene waiting on my computer. Sometimes this routine helps, sometimes not.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Starting is bliss, stopping is painful, yes. When I'm on a roll I want to keep going, don't want the train to stop. The worst day writing is better than the best day doing anything else. :)