A “Process” Of Agony

A large part of my writing “being” truly admires writers like this:

[Author Soulla Christodoulou, on Instagram, April 15, 2022.]

In her caption, she – a friend – writes in part:

“Life is better when you write.”

…If you live in north London and are looking for a space to write alongside other passionate writers then please let me know. I’d love to support you and I’m looking to launch a new face-to-face writer’s group where you can write, critique and move forward on your writing and publishing journey.

That hit me hard. Because I find life is NOT better when I write. Quite the opposite: Life is a horror when I write.

Writing itself is NOT fulfilling to me. In fact, if any aspect of it is, it is FINISHING that is. So if you write and feel that way, I assure you that you are not alone.

I hate what I am writing from the moment I begin. Only after some months does some of it vaguely start to resemble anything I would dare let anyone else read. Slowly, finally, I begin to see this or that I suppose is not an utter embarrassment and just plain awful that I don’t wish to delete and consign to deserved oblivion.

[Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com. Public Domain.]

Over the years I have been amazed by and envious of writers out there on social media who claim to find “joy” in writing. I always wish I could feel that way. But I feel more like an “addict” hoping the next page will be better and I will enjoy a brief “high” and a euphoric escape of sorts – and maybe I do experience that for a time, but then I crash again. Again, like an addict.

Also I do not feel I can honestly “critique” another person’s writing in terms of an in-progress out of context “this page” or “that chapter” they produce, when my own writing “process” usually makes no sense even to me… and why that page I wrote is a 1st person flashback and the next is a letter written 30 years later. I never experience a sense of some invigorating and uplifting “writing journey” (another term I see used by various authors online, as she does above, too); on the contrary, I fight with myself for months and even years to produce a finished book. It is not a pleasant or a social activity for me; it is hours and hours alone with my thoughts, battling with this sentence or that one, always trying to keep the larger aims in sight (in terms of what I am trying to say overall), and warning myself that it will be expensive to replace my computer if I throw it out the window as I lament for the gazillionth time that what before me is frankly all junk and hopeless and will never be fit to be read by anyone else.

The bottom line is every book I have ever written is the result of what I would best describe as a “process” of agony.

When I have finally finished it, and after a couple of trusted people close to me have read it because I don’t want to make a public fool of myself and they reassure me it is indeed alright and I am not a failure and that it is not without some literary merit, I sigh and briefly feel okay… and… then… that fear begins to rise again inside of me of needing to find a way to do it yet again, because that I just finished cannot be the last thing I ever write… yet can I even write anything else?… because have I at last run out of ideas?… and am I indeed a fake and a fraud?…

…And eventually it all starts all over again.

[Photo by me, Potton, England, April 16, 2022.]

Thankfully, I am not writing anything today. 😉

Hope you are having a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂

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