I haven’t been writing. Instead I’ve been holidaying (and not in the European sense), Mommying, baking, cooking, playing (terrifying how much I dig ‘Where’s My Perry’), reading and insert any -ing word other than the word write. While I always allow for a break this time of year with the holidays and the kidlets home from school, the word ‘break’ by definition does not mean chasm. It does not mean huge gaping hole of time between now and the last day my fingers did their tippity-tappity dance across the keyboard. The longer I am away from my new not-even-sure-what-the-hell-it-is-so-let’s-call-it-a-manuscript the more I feel like the recalcitrant niece who keeps failing to visit her 92-year-old doddering maiden Aunt Dotty in a nursing home. The longer you go without the visit the more guilt. The more guilt the less likely you are to visit.
Curse you vicious cycle!
In my latest whatever-the-hell-I-am-writing I made the mistake of placing the date on the page every time I wrote. My intentions were good. I thought hey, what a great way to keep track of how many words I write, what days I write. F**k it; truly I thought it would keep me honest. But this date is acting like a giant red time stamp on Aunt Dotty’s forehead indicating I’ve not been to see her since Spring 2011.
So now when I open The Document not only do I have the horrendous assault of shitty first draft words, but also the horrifying date of 12-10. WTF? To be fair I am practicing law, it was the holidays, my mother has–AAAAH! <--- See that writer magic, see how that little rationalizing bitch of a voice can creep in and tell me why it is OK that I haven't written since 12-10.
IT IS NOT OK.
I have an hour each day to scratch my armpits–I can write for an hour.
Due to my recalcitrant ways I must now not only confront the putrid odor of first draft words, the insult of the date now nearly 20 days(!) ago, but I must also deal with what every writer knows as the f**k-I-haven’t-written-in-forever-and-this-is-really-going-to-hurt-bullshit.
I don’t just write every day to publish, to feel good(!), and productive–while these are fantastic side effects. I hate pain–psychic or otherwise (did you see my previous post about the Ruffles bag?). I write every day because to not write and then to write is similar in feeling to what all those lazy-ass potato-eating couch farts (myself included) will suffer on January 3rd after they go blow a wad of lactic acid on January 1 by attempting a work-out they’ve not achieved since 1997.
Granted when I write after not writing, I feel this pain in my brain and not my limbs–which is worse? You decide.
Writing after Not Writing is like skiing after not skiing for 20+ years–you know you can do it but that shit hurts and the mountain is steep and the ground is covered in ICE (snow is merely shaved ice) and you can *feel* what that upcoming fall will be like the crunching of bone the metallic taste of blood the chipped teeth the co-pay. The pleasure of the mountains and the wondrous rush of wind whipping through your hair is erased–erased by the pain of actually making your body do what it truly knows how to do but hasn’t done in a very long time.
And so it goes with writing after-a-break-that-is-too-f**king-long.
But each passing day makes the upcoming pain worse. And then add one pound of guilt for every day you miss (Sorry made-up-Aunt Dotty!) and suddenly you’ve got the moment of truth that hits you like a dishwasher door slamming into your thigh.
I have to write.
Today I will drag myself kicking and screaming,(sounding like the kid who’s evil parents installed the automatic lock-out system for apps and video on their new kindle.) to the computer and force myself to write.
AND THIS BLOG DOESN’T COUNT! (I am yelling at the whiny bitch voice that likes to rationalize see paragraph 4, line 2 & 3.)
So I leave you now and I will go endure the psychic pain that in a couple days (if I have more focus than a chipmunk on speed) will turn into some form of torturous pleasure, (never really pleasure until the ‘wtf-am-I-writing’ is actually published and then only for 10-minutes or until I see the Amazon ranking numbers.) but a torturous pleasure that is necessary for my sanity.
Time to get the words out. And all you couch-farts good luck January 3rd.
Maggie Marr is an attorney licensed in California, Colorado, and Illinois (yes she has to tell you about all three states because she has spent as much time studying for bar exams as she did growing one of her children in utero). She was a motion picture literary agent. She still is an author. She wrote Courting Trouble, Hollywood Girls Club, Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club, and Can’t Buy Me Love. She attempts to produce films for Dahooma Productions. She also writes for film and TV. She lives in LA with her outrageously-good-looking husband and fabulous family.