Thursday, July 28, 2005

Through The Never

A few months ago, I was asked "What do you like about writing?". My response? "Nothing."

I surprised myself with that answer, but not as much as the person who asked. Then I thought about it later. Do I actually like writing? Is it fun to type out a story, rewrite it countless times, and suffer over every little nuance until it's ready for public consumption?(which it never is)

And now I know- writing is pain. I go to a place, often for weeks at a time, and live in it. I'm not right, mentally. I'm in a masochistic haze for the length of time I'm writing the screenplay. It's a torturous exercise. Then why do I do it? Well, for one, I have a lot to say, and hundreds of stories to tell. Secondly, the feeling of finishing a draft is among the best feelings I've ever had. And the last reason is, although this will be controversial, I feel there's a certain martyrdom to being a writer. A certain honor, a code if you will. We constantly work to the perfect story, but are constantly reminded that we are not good enough. We should quit. We read something that slaps us back into reality. It blows anything we can or will write out of the water.

So then, you still pile on the effort, the suffering. We are self depreciating of your work in front of others, because, well, we've been told we're not as good. We have been told this by other writers in exactly the same position as our own. We listen to other amateurs for feedback, because that's all we have. Can you imagine being in med school, and asking your fellow classmate to sit in on your first autopsy? No, you would have a real MD there to oversee your efforts. There is very little nurturing in a writers world, because we are in a gladiators circle of self imposed competition.

So why do I do it? Is it the suffering? Is a writer always a masochist? Is there even a problem with that, anyway? Is it the martyrdom angle, taking the bullets to create something in the world, no matter what the cost? Does anyone love the actual writing, or is it all about getting to the end result?

Next time someone asks what I like about writing, I think I'll say 'Everything!' and walk away quickly.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the old adage 'I write because I have to', but I wish when I was younger I didn't have to 'work because I had to'