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?