The Modern Scribe

July 22, 2012
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It's interesting learning about the inner workings of a writer's mind, first hand. Funny, really. But it's not funny in the laughing-till-you're-wheezing-and-breathless way, more in the bitter way, where you laugh but everyone knows you're not laughing from joy. Somewhere in your mind you know you've got the short stick in the situation, but there's also that hope that someday your work will be read.

Maybe every writer goes through the same struggle. The balancing of your work and your life. But slowly, slowly and surely, you learn great work doesn't come from balance. It doesn't even come from happy, necessarily. It comes from nesting, refusing to leave the house for weeks to months on end, and the roaring hunger because few foods can be consumed while typing. It comes from the friends that gradually stop calling, and the librarians that know you by name.

There's the realization that nobody can really compare to your characters – not even you. That forces you deeper and deeper into fabricated realms. Because, face it, reality pales in comparison. Your work is yours, your own personal world. Nothing can beat that, right?

People don't stick around long. The nice guy or gal from class, or the cute neighbour, or the goalie on your soccer team, they try to get inside your head. They want to be on your mind – and you can't really blame them. But when they realize all your thought processes revolve around the latest novel or an idea you're incubating, they're gone before sundown. If that doesn't get them, the anti-social behaviour or psychopathic tendencies developed from spending too much time away from people will send them running for the hills.

It seems twisted, but for some reason you can't let yourself be happy. You talk yourself out of relationships, and end up being a less than stellar friend. You forget about play – you're all work. As much joy as you get from writing, it can't fill the void of love. But you don't want love. You want the power of eloquence. You want to be a writer.

Writer's block means more than a failed essay. It drives you wild, and turns you into an insufferable maniac. If the block lasts long enough, you become deprived. You need to write and write often, or you can't focus. Your head feels light, and you're beyond restless. You pace, unable to sit still. And you don't know why. Until you pick up the pen, and everything feels right again.

And often, writing brings you pain. You intentionally hit your favourite characters where it hurts. You try to manipulate the feelings of your reader through your own emotions, but you end up being the most affected. Because those characters have pieces of you in them. You're essentially ripping your heart out and slapping it silly to get the reader to feel a little sad, a little angry, or a little jealous.

As destructive as writing is, it's so easy to love. When you get hooked it becomes an undying passion, underlying everything you do. You have a notebook ready when you visit new places, basking in the glow of inspiration. And it is rewarding. You'd give everything for your work; maybe you already have sacrificed it all. Rather unlike the average kid that leaves the stove when burnt, you keep coming back, no matter how much it may hurt.





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