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Writing is Hard

Writing this post is hard.

I'm not crying over my keyboard. I'm not shaking with emotion. I'm not paralyzed by fear or regret or nostalgia.

Writing this sentence is hard. Writing this whole paragraph is even harder. And writing this whole paragraph in a single fluid motion? Nearly impossible.

Not physically. My fingers work like a charm. Psychologically.

When I get up to pee the next three paragraphs come to me. They come to me with zero effort. They are flawless. They are profound without trying to be profound. They are words that my readers will want to read. And even if none of this is true… it's true to me. So for the sake of the argument, they are profound and flawless.

Then I get back to my computer and I can't transfer them to the screen.

I haven't forgotten the thoughts I had while I was peeing. The thoughts are still in my head. The exact wording, even, is still in my head. So you would think I could just do a mental CMD-C and CMD-V and get those words out without a problem.

But I can't.

Because I can't take the pain that is writing.

This paragraph, in particular, is tough to write. People are going to read the previous paragraph and say "there's nothing painful about writing. Quit being soft." Then these people will hit the left arrow at the top of their favorite browser.

I have to be okay with that. I have to keep writing anyway. Because the pain isn't made up. Not to me. Some people will understand exactly what I'm trying to say. I have to keep writing for these people.

I struggle to finish a paragraph because I get uncomfortable after the fourth word. I second-guess myself.

I push through and finish that first sentence. But as I'm supposed to be writing the second sentence I can't stop focusing on the first. I rewrite the first sentence. Then rewrite it again. Now my planned second sentence no longer makes sense. After the revisions to the first sentence the second sentence no longer fits.

I delete the whole paragraph and start over.

I freak out. Why can't I just write all my thoughts down now and go back and edit them later? What is wrong with me?

Okay, screw it, that's what I'll do. From now on, I'll just write whatever comes to my head, in whatever order it comes to my head, and I'll make it all fit together after I have all the words down on the screen.

But I can't. I want to, but I can't. I can't write words down and not edit them.

Then I freak out about how I'm freaking out. Screw it. I can't take this. I hit CMD-tab. Now I'm out of my text editor and into Chrome.

CMD-t. "fa". Enter.

CMD-t. "re". Enter.

CMD-t. "tw". Enter.

CMD-t. "ma". Enter.

In less than two seconds I've opened up Facebook, reddit, Twitter and gmail, desperate to find a notification in any one of them. Desperate for something that needs my attention. Desperate to justify my reprieve from writing.

Maybe something needs my attention. Maybe nothing does. It doesn't matter. As you could probably guess, I get sidetracked regardless.

I'd love to be able to tell you what I'm running from. If I knew I'd tell you. Maybe it's a fear of not being a good enough writer. Or a fear of how my writing will be received. Maybe it's that I can't stand the few moments of boredom encountered between thoughts. Maybe I'm ashamed that my words aren't perfect the first time. Maybe it's some other thing that I've never even considered.

So I take a break and try again later. And fail again and repeat again.

Eventually I'm done. I read my final product from start to finish.

Holy wowsers. I couldn't be happier. I love writing.