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Did You Think Writing Would Be Easy?

7 May 2014

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 May 7, 2014
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Hey Everyone–

 

Did you curl up in your childhood bedroom and read Harry Potter and The Secret Garden and C.S Lewis and think that writing would be easy?

 

Did you imagine sitting at your desk and the words just flying from your brain through your fingers to the page, like magic?

 

Did you picture yourself at your book launch, laughing, holding a glass of champagne, radiant, people fawning all over you and asking breathlessly about your next project?

 

Did you imagine yourself at the Hollywood premiere of the movie about your life, the movie starring Angelina Jolie as you, and Clive Owen as your secret lover?

 

Did you picture a cozy quiet office, decorated in your favorite colors, lined with books and autographed photos of you with all the famous people you’d met (Oprah, Hillary, Stephen King?) Did the office smell like coffee and Jameson’s and maybe just a hint of hot fudge?

 

Did you dream of attending writer’s conferences, and regaling people with your stories? About how your characters just “came to you” and how you felt as though you were merely a conduit?

 

Did you describe the creative process as “miraculous?”

 

Now…

 

Do you sit in your bedroom and read writing craft book after writing craft book, and still not truly understand what these authors are talking about?

 

Do you experience the hellishness of writing in your dining room, surrounded by your loud roommates, who watch Game Of Thrones way too loud in the next room, and invite you to drink White Russians, ‘cuz they’re watching The Big Lebowski next?

 

Do you find yourself at a pitch meeting, talking way too fast, and realize the development executive is asleep with her eyes open?

 

Do you end up at Hollywood Premieres, watching the celebs trail past, hoping they’ll stop for a moment at the candy counter where you (expertly) man the popcorn machine?

 

Is your office a Starbucks, or The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or maybe even the park bench outside the office building where you temp?

 

Do you sit for hours at your computer, trying to understand the motivations, the feelings, the longings of the people who populate your story?

 

Do you rewrite each scene over and over until you get it right, so that the voices and actions of these people feel real and true? Does it make you crazy sometimes? So crazy that you think you’re a failure and that you may never get it right?

 

Did you imagine it would be easy, but it’s oh-so-hard, so much harder than you expected? And you want to give up?

 

But then, in writing a word, or a phrase, or a sentence or a scene, you start to understand that the difficulty is the thing that makes the process beautiful and satisfying and worthwhile?

 

Does your definition of “miraculous” change?

 

Did your mother tell you that the only things worth doing were NOT easy?

 

And now, finally, you believe her?

 

How simple it seemed. How much richer it is.

 

Keep writing.

 

xo Pat

 

P.S. I know you need it, so here’s the recipe for a White Russian.

 

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1 Cocktail

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces vodka

3/4 ounce Kahlua coffee liqueur

3/4 ounce cream

 

Preparation:

Pour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.

Stir well.

Enjoy.

 

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