We must go to the mountain now, and we must know the truth. We must climb and seek out the people in flowing robes who have big beards. Even the women of these mountains have big beards—that is how WISE everyone is. We must sit before them and ask, “Why is this no fun anymore?” And they will give us looks of beardy wisdom and nod, because this question is THE question. It’s the question at the bottom of EVERYTHING.
When we first start things, they are often AWESOMELY FUN. When we first start dating that werepire. When we eat that first handful of movie popcorn. When we decide to take that class in glassblowing. But then our werepire boyfriend or girlfriend keeps eating all the local rabbits, the popcorn is giving us popcorn stomachache, the glassblowing is not turning out the way you expected …
Any endeavor of any length is going to go through phases. And the things we come into with a BIG RUSH often have the biggest crashes. Everyone on Beardy Mountain knows this. In fact, most people down here on Normal Shlub Level know this too. Not every day of writing is a BIG RUSH OF WONDERFUL IDEAS, as I am sure you have noticed by now. Many times, we first sit down to write because we had a BIG WONDERFUL IDEA, and then we realized we had to KEEP SITTING THERE. See, that’s the key part, the keeping sitting there part. That’s the writing. There will be days when it will not resemble anything remotely approaching fun.
Which is why we have to go back up to Beardy Mountain and ask some more questions about Life. How do we keep going when the fun wears off? The good folks of Beardy Mountain have many answers for that. First, they might suggest pinpointing what you are actually feeling. Describe the SYMPTOMS. Perhaps you are sitting there thinking things like:
- I don’t want to sit here any more
- I have no ideas
- This is boring
- I don’t know what I am doing
- This is hard
- I should be doing something else
- I can’t do this
Just acknowledge those feelings. Say, “Oh, that’s me thinking I’m dumb.” “Oh, that’s me thinking I can’t do this.” Realize that pretty much every writer ever has had them, all of them, sometimes all at once. Those are things your brain is throwing up at you, but they aren’t necessarily real. Writing requires concentration. When you try to focus, sometimes a bunch of noise is generated in your head. Don’t try to avoid it, because it will chase you down. Just look at it, wave at it, and move on. Walk gently past it. It’s okay. They are just thoughts, doing their thing.
Thoughts like this come up in every aspect of life and often keep us from doing things we’d actually like to do. When we hit the part where the thing becomes work, the noise starts. But if you actually want to write, learn that those are the noises of the jungle. It’s okay. When you first hear the lion roaring “YOU CAN’T DO THIS,” you think the lion looks like this:
But the more you say, “Okay, I hear you” and move on, you will realize the lion looks more like this:
I had to resort to a lolcat to show you the truth. The people of Beardy Mountain would approve, I am sure.
Once you get past these initial bumps, you start to ENJOY the working phase. Not every day, all of the time, but so much more often than you would think possible.
That being said, I also want to say this: writing is not for everyone. We all have a THING, and writing may not be your thing. But it is ALSO true that a lot of people give up long before they have even started because they jump ship at the first moment they don’t think it is fun, and they are missing out in the long run.