I’ve been writing since I learned to eat a pencil eraser. I moved on from chewing pencils to eating pen caps, sniffing markers and giving myself ink tattoos with a Bic during history class. Then came “typing,” “keyboarding” or whatever the hell it’s called today.
(Remember typing so fast the keys stuck? Yeah, I’m that old.)
I learned to type on the very first typewriter carried to this continent by Leif Ericson and his band of merry Norsemen. It sucked. But the more technology has developed to help me write, the harder writing seems to be. I’ve been a “professional” writer for 10 years and there are days I LOVE it (the days I’m on my meds) and days I hate it (every other day). Here are the Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks:
1. Content Limit: There are only so many words in the dictionary and only so many ways to arrange those words. So, unless I start writing in Russian or Greek, I need to maximize 26 letters in a way no one has ever done before. No pressure there. And Shakespeare already used the best one-liners. But, then again, even monkeys could write a novel if given enough time—look at Sarah Palin.
2. People are easily offended: If anything in the previous paragraph offended you–take a number. I’ve received emails from people who were angered by things I’d written, not taking into account I write a HUMOR column, not political essays for the Washington Post. Trigger words like “conservative lunatic” or “get off your a**” seem to set people off. Go figure.
3. It’s SO personal. Writers bleed their hearts onto the paper (or screen) and tentatively let it loose in the biosphere for people to attack/enjoy, only to have it received with a sniff and a derisive comment. If you don’t have thick skin, perhaps you should choose a different field. Like hermit.
4. I’m easily distracted. I just typed “I’m easily distracted” then stared at the screen trying to decide which Girl Scout cookies are left in the pantry. My method for writing is:
1. Craft a brilliant sentence (or phrase)
2. Look around the room to see if there’s anything more interesting to do
3. Rewrite the brilliant sentence (or phrase)
4. Get up and eat a Girl Scout cookie
5. Repeat 1-4 until the article, blog, column, etc. is complete (sometimes this can take days).
5. Low pay. I know, you’re shocked. But how many millionaire journalists do you know? We put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) every day, subject ourselves to ridicule and, in return, make less than many Wendy’s managers. Okay. ALL Wendy’s managers.
So why write, you ask? Because I love to . . . ummmm. . . I enjoy . . .Well, I guess it harks back to the day when I tried to type so fast the keys would stick. Not such a problem anymore.