What's the hardest part of writing?

One day, I'll be sitting in an interview, or exchanging messages with a reviewer, and they'll ask, "What's the hardest part of writing?"

They'll expect something deep and philosophical, like generating ideas, dialogue, characters, world-building, or getting just the right word.  But for me the hardest part is the act: writing.  Sitting down to actually do it.  I am a writer, a story teller, I have been as long as I can remember.  Within my brain are people milling about, worlds, and universes with their own rules, beginnings and endings.  Coming up with a story isn't too difficult for me (if it's good or not...).  The act of writing, what I'm doing right now, however, seems to be difficult to get to for me.

I'd say, probably from 6th grade until well after graduating high school, I was constantly creating stuff.  I was drawing comic book style characters, writing short stories, taking cracks at writing novels, building worlds with their own histories, creating universes, of which there are three or four living in my mind, even now.  In high school I was still writing, mostly short fiction, some even being published, drawing a comic book, picked up the bass guitar, I was all over the place.  I narrowed that down after high school, still playing in a band, wrote and sang songs, and writing short stories here and there.  When I'm doing these things, it's great, having a schedule and structure and expectations of an end result are great motivators, but even they can fail.

The music never went anywhere, which was sad, I really had faith in it, I loved what I was doing and people who heard it said they liked it.  The writing started to trickle off, very little drawing, I've discussed before the events of 9/11 and my mother's death had a long-lasting effect.  I went several years after about 2003 of doing nothing.  That writer's block was devastating.

I tried to write.  I've got several pages of unfinished material from within that period, but I kept trying to make it perfect the first time, never finishing anything and sick with myself I couldn't get it right, right off the bat.  Always I thought, the universes in my head playing out their events over and over, becoming refined and higher and higher in definition, but for some reason I couldn't commit them to the page.  What I wrote didn't seem to do the mental visual justice.  Eventually, the act of writing was almost scary.  I still suffer that now and if there was something within me I could change immediately it would be that, I want to just sit and write.

I did that this last November, for National Novel Writing Month, and even hit the goal of 50k words.  But I haven't come back to it, not yet, despite wanting to make it available to the public before the end of the year.  Before I wrote this short novel, I had just put up on sale a collection of short stories, which I've advertised all over cyberspace.  Sluggish (to say the least) sales and next to no feedback are crushing blows to this creator's psyche...or maybe I'm just delicate.

Regardless, the hardest thing about writing is writing.  But I'm writing right now, in this blog entry, giving you just an insight.  And to tell you the truth, this won't be one of my grandest, most memorable, or most read entries, but I wanted to sit down and say these things, to write these things out and then let them go for you to read, to prime myself.

I need to work on my novel, "In the House of Inbetween," and I have, a few things have surfaced in my mind since finishing the first draft; a few tweaks, additions, and subtractions.  I'm currently reading "A Magician Among the Spirits" by Harry Houdini, I've already gleaned some pretty influential/inspirational information from just the first few chapters.  But also, I have a dream project, and as an exercise, I will work on that project on the weekends.  Write a scene, just a few paragraphs to a few pages.  Make a habit of writing.

That's what all of this blog entry is about: it's hard to sit down and do it, so the answer is to sit down and do it.  Make a habit of it, make it part of the daily routine, as important as bathing (in that skipping a day here or there won't kill me, but it should ultimately be something I do, even if just quickly, each day).  This blog entry, mind you, is not my writing for the day, this is to get my fingers on the keyboard, to get my thoughts flowing onto the screen, and just as much as I intend to do the thing I love to do, want to do for the rest of my life, it is also a promise to you, one or two readers who happen to make it this far into my boring-ass entry, that I will be the writer that I am by writing.  Those stumbling blocks are still there.  In this day and age, Facebook, Words With Friends, my PS3...they suck at my attention.

But I'll close with my favorite writing quote, from Frank Herbert:

"Well, now it's writing time and now I'll write."

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