Keep Writing: When It’s Hard

Getting out of bed to go to work is hard to do. I hate it every day. I dread it every night. No matter how good the day has been, no matter how mild the temperatures, how easy the workload, how healthy I feel, I still go to bed dreading getting up or work. Even if I am able sleep until my eyes open on their own and I wake fully rested and restored, I still have to make myself get out of bed. I still have to rush into my clothes because I have waited until the last minute to get dressed. I still have to push myself out of the front door.

I don’t like working. Or I don’t like my job. You could say it is both. But I don’t like working.

I hate moving things, carrying things, lugging things. Furniture, heavy boxes, cases of bottled water. I had an old TV, if you can call TV bought in 2004 old. It wasn’t a flat screen. It bulged out in the back and had a huge bulb inside it. But the screen was flat and the picture was beautiful – bright, sharp, and alive with almost glowing colors. The bulb gave out one night while the TV was asleep. I woke up and it was dead. I drug to the back door of my apartment and left it outside the back door and got ready for work. I sat out there for almost three weeks. It was heavy and awkward and improperly balanced. I took three rest stops getting it to the dumpster behind my building.

I hate physical labor and heavy lifting.

I hate writing when it’s hard, when there is nothing there, when the words and sentences and paragraphs are ugly, and the last word seems hopelessly distant. I used to hear writers talk about having to pull the words out of themselves. Painfully. Like pulling all your veins out through a tiny cut in your nipple. When I’m dry, empty, blank, I have to PUSH to get the words out, like i’m trying to blow all my blood out through my nose.

But, I have learned. I have to write even when I don’t want to do it, even when it’s difficult, even when it feels like work, even when it feels like lugging furniture, even when I’m blank, and I know the writing is bad. I have to. Just like I have to go to work when I don’t want to, when I have no enthusiasm, and no energy.

There is a lot to gain from not quitting, from persevering, from trying and doping when the work is difficult and not immediately rewarding. You learn not to use bad days and hard days as an excuse to not work. You learn to make yourself produce when you have nothing in the tank.

You develop the skills, the temperament, and the character of a career writer.

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