April 7, 2012

Life Before Writing

“I am distracted; I am weary to the bottom of my soul; sorrow lies heavy on my heart; and yet I am expected to sit down and write! And this is called ‘living!’” – Anton Chekhov, “Hush”

Writing is a disease—a never ending dissatisfaction. Of course, there is joy when you discover the perfect phrase, piece of dialogue, or when to kill a character for story’s sake. And news of accepted work is great, but all these woohoos! are fleeting—one quickly turns back to ideas and unfinished work. Whatever I’m doing, wherever I am, I think about writing, that I should be writing—more.
Writers share that moment when they knew their destiny. They mention the first zine they stapled together in grade two or the poem they carved into a desk in junior high.

I didn’t write fiction much of my adult life. I was free, and I didn’t even know it. After my first creative writing class, I was hooked. I became obsessed, but I thought (as with many safe addictions)that it would peter out in six months. Had I known this wasn’t the case, I would have enjoyed my guilt-free existence a little more.

“Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” – Lawrence Kasdan
What if I quit right now? Writing keeps me out of trouble (for the most part). The disease is spreading. I study editing now so I can link my day job to my writing.