Celebrate with me!

Writer John Palisano recently posted the following on Facebook:

Just got an email from NanoWrimo stating that ‘every’ writer would rather ‘have written’ than ‘write’ and that writing is painful and such.

I disagree. I love being in the zone. I love tapping away at the keyboard, the story flowing out like music. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not painful. It’s not a struggle to make happen, most of the time.

I’m not the only one, am I?

No, he’s definitely not the only one. There is nothing like being in that zone. That vanishing into a world in my head and staying there with my characters, living out whatever fantasy I want (no matter how outlandish), the words just flying out of me as easily as drunken conversation. It’s almost like being on a magical vacation; the outside world recedes. I obsess over whatever topic, setting, or interesting object that the story is about. I avoid bills, cleaning, laundry and just about anything else I can get away with for the sake of art, and hey, if I have to function because I can’t get out of something, it’s an excuse to mentally tune-out.

On the flip side, if the fiction is really just a channel for something sad, stressful, and overwhelming I’m trying to process, it can be gut-wrenching. I fail to eat for however long it takes to get it done, I avoid correspondence or contact with anyone as much as I can, I question every single choice I’ve ever made in my life or even why I exist at all. And I usually cry a lot.

This isn’t the case with every piece I write, but it was the case with a piece I finished this morning. It’s been the greatest week of my life in a long, long time, but it’s also been balls-on anxiety and other not-so-pleasant emotions since Tuesday.

A few of you out there are aware of this. It’s official–the first draft is done, and I have set myself free! I’ve not only written a very solid story (yes, it still has to go through revision and critique, but I don’t invest in that on a spiritual level), I’ve emotionally worked through what I was processing. I feel completely unburdened and can have some fun now—I can focus on cleaning my house, doing the shopping for Thanksgiving, and wrapping some Christmas gifts (I shop all year, so it’s never really too early to start).

I’m having a glass of wine in a nice hot bath to celebrate. I encourage you all to celebrate with me in whatever way you see fit! If you’re waiting to hear from me, you will soon. And oh my God, where are the cheese and crackers because I’m starving.

Have a great week!

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About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, served as a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, has judged both writing and grant competitions and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on November 18, 2018, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, Short Stories, The Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Yeah I agree Kristi. I don’t get why a writer might hate to write. That is sad indeed. I ask myself why a writer might call himself a writer if he has to force himself to do it every day. Like folks that join a gym and deep down, hate to exercise. What is the point, then?

    I just wrote about that. I never run out of words and I can’t seem to tear myself away from my writing. Even during my work shift I write. I admit I even write when it’s busy. I do it between calls. I write when really I’m supposed to be showering, walking the dog, doing laundry, making a phone call, and so on. I write thousands of words each day.

    What is most hurtful is when people who are totally clueless ask me if I’m “still writing.” I don’t know how to respond except to tell them that maybe they need to open their eyes and not ask such a cruel, insensitive question.

    • I think that people who hate to do it are doing it for some other reason than it’s born in them. If it’s born in you, you love doing it. But there are plenty of people who just want to do it just to DO it or to sell or be cool or whatever, and they may have to force themselves.

      Writers are always writing, because there are always words in our head, and we are always thinking, ideas are always cooking. And when people ask you if you’re “still writing,” I imagine they’re going on the idea that there are loads of people–who don’t do it because of that inborn reason–who just give up. That’s probably just what they’ve always seen or are used to, unless they know loads of writers. It’s kind of hard for non-writers to understand what the hell goes on in our brains.

      • I think you are right, Kristi. I think also some people are just envious, too. Plus some people want to portray low expectations of others. So if they word it, “Still writing” that sets up an expectation of failure. While of course that’s insulting i don’t think people realize what is behind what they are saying.

      • Totally. I absolutely think they just have no idea. And if you try to explain it to them–like, we’re writing even when we’re in the shower–it’s hard for them to even understand that. Which I kind of get. It’s really hard for me to understand it myself!!

  2. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! Enjoy your cheese n crackers.:-)

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