Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Writer's Life

A writer's life is tough. We hold our own hours and sometimes our own deadlines. In our works, we are in control of everything and sometimes all that responsibility is overwhelming. There is no one giving us an outline, instructions on the specific word count, events that must take place, or characters to form. It is all in our minds and executed by our hands. Writers must have self discipline to push away distractions, sit down, and write. Some days are easier than others. There are times we can sit down the the words just leap onto the page, but others we stare at the blank page, begging words to form. We are constantly rewriting, crumpling up paper, and stress snacking. Writers must also endure emotional roller coasters.

Life cannot be all sunshine and flowers for our characters. We must put them through hard things, take loved ones away, and force them to make decisions that will change their lives forever. It is what sculpts their personalities. Sometimes you simply feel bad for your character when you make them suffer. Other times you get that horrible knot in your stomach, want to throw up, and sob your heart out.

I have recently been reminded of all this. For the last week I have been laboring over my thirteenth chapter of my novel. It is a chapter that changed my character's life. It is such a critical moment that I am struggle to put the pieces together. I have all these pieces in front of me but the connections are unclear. I have written eight different versions to begin my chapter but something is disconnected in each one. My friends have given me suggestions to help the transition but ultimately it comes back to me. I have to put the words down. Today as I was writing I felt a rush of so many feelings at once. My character was put in a horrible situation and he had to go through it for the sake of the plot and the sake of his character. I was grinning as I had him bravely accept the challenge, then I got a knot in my stomach the dread came. As the action began, I wanted to hit the delete button and start grieving over my decision. The tears literally came to my eyes but I knew it had to be done. So I kept writing.

We grow along with our characters and learn new things with every new line. Writing never ceases, a story simply ends. And each time, we move one to endure it all over again, with another place, another person, and another goal. Like all things, our job shall one day come to a halt. In the end, we look back and know it was worth it. The struggle, the journey, the outcome, it will be worth it. This is the life we chose to pursue. We chose to sweat, to bleed, and to cry, for plot, for character, and for reader. We chose a writer's life.