Writing Life Writing Process

The Ugly Side of Writing or The Confessional

Jacq, my writing partner & co-founder of our press, and I often pose questions to each other to reflect on. Recently, one of those questions has been, “What’s the ugliest part of writing for you?”

I struggle with this because there are many ugly parts — it’s shitty first drafts and staring at that damn cursor blinking at you at 5 a.m. and you haven’t showered or brushed your teeth and you can feel the grime as you run your hand across your face and as you move your tongue around your mouth.

Sometimes, it can be the way frustration and disappointment manifest when something just won’t fucking work out on the page the way it does in your head. And, too, it can also be the depression and hiding from people you love because, let’s face it, writing can be the most dehumanizing and demoralizing act someone can do and you just can’t deal with other people right now out of some hideous sense of shame.

After a long think, I’ve decided the ugliest part of writing for me is the guilty pleasure of not writing.

“GASP! THE HORROR! You call yourself a writer?!” the chorus sings, the guilt trip sinking its claws in deeper.

Yes, I do find a sick sense of pleasure in actively not writing against all the old adages that a writer must write, is compelled to write, can’t do anything butwrite. Frankly, I can. I can for days, weeks, months. And I can do it on purpose, marinating happily in my own self-sabotage.

The ugliest part of writing is, as Steven Pressfield says, letting Resistance win — Resistance as in that little voice that tells you to hit snooze because you can write tomorrow, to have one more drink because you don’t need to get up *that* early and can write later in the day, to not set firm boundaries with both yourself and those around you about the sacred space and time you need to create.

That little voice is the ugliest of all the hideous faces of writing. I’m a hedonist by nature, which means I’ll give in to anything half-convincing that takes me away from applying myself to something even remotely difficult. Of course, we should always be gracious with ourselves and extend the love we give to others to ourselves. We’re not perfect. We can’t all sit and bang out 500 words at the same time every day. But we can try and sometimes I don’t even do that… On purpose.

Maybe this post isn’t what the ugly side of writing is and, possibly, it’s more in the vein of a confession. What’s yours?

This content was originally written for Recken Press and posted at Medium. If you liked it, why not head over there and give it a few claps?

You Might Also Like...

  • Wendi
    March 8, 2019 at 3:16 am

    Do you have any type of ideas for writing posts?
    That’s where I always battle as well as I simply wind up looking vacant screen for long period of time.

    • Jenn
      March 9, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Hey Wendi. 🙂

      To be honest, this is my downfall, too. My writing partner and I keep a google doc with running post ideas. Typically, I’ll be at my day job and a blog topic will come to me. I plug it into that doc and when it’s time to hammer out a post, I refer to that running list of ideas. Some get done, some don’t. I think it’s just a matter of making sure there is a repository of ideas to pull from when it’s time to sit and write.

      It also helps me to not worry about things that are important to a lot of folks when it comes to writing blogs. I don’t worry about SEO or word count, for instance. I know this is counter intuitive and goes against almost everything we’re told when we start a blog, but I’m not a marketer. I’m a writer. I treat my blog the same way I do any other creative pursuits – everything comes from a place of honesty and my own truth.

      Maybe that’ll help you, too, to reframe your thinking about blogging. My mental blocks, a lot of the time, come from this feeling of “needing to” do what the conventional wisdom says and then I get bogged down in the logistics of it all. Don’t let that get you down and write what interests you. You can worry about hitting all those SEO and marketing checkboxes later. <3