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The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine addled, crippled by procrastination, and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day. ~Robert DeNiro via the 86th Academy Awards teleprompter
Now, the really question is, how many good days are there for a writer? I caught this marvelous quote right way the other night while watching the Oscars, and I’m not the only other person who latched onto this statement. Type it into Bing and you will get several blog post pop up with this same quote used as the topic of Monday’s posts. It is a truly powerful statement in regards to writers.
In fact this statement is so true that you know only a writer wrote it for Robert DeNiro to say. My mother stared at me and at the television, her jaw dropping because it is so true in regards to me. I have actually been mulling over a post regarding the real issue of being a writer is because of our own fears. So this is apropos. What keeps us from writing are those moments of procrastination, panic, and self-loathing. We drink coffee or tea like fiends , and often we don’t have good days.
Unless you are talking to another writer, you definitely feel complete and utter isolation. Desolation. Non-writers do not understand what is going through our heads and there is no point in trying to explain. Non-writers stare at you, a blank expression on their face, and that’s when you know you are neurotic because obviously it only makes sense to us.
We fail to send in our manuscripts and query letters because we are ‘crippled by procrastination’ and dealing with ‘soul crushing inadequacy.’ “I’ll never be able to write like ____________[FILL IN THE BLANK].
Then there we are at two in the morning pounding out this idea that CANNOT wait till daylight, our eyes heavy and dark. WE wake to circles under the eyes from lack of sleep, staggering to the coffee pot before we are even lucid, only to look over what we had written in the dark and think to ourselves, ‘Utter crap!’
Rewriting over and over, tweaking even after it’s ‘done’ and ready to be sent off to editors, agents, or publishers. It will never be perfect. Twenty years in print and we will still want to change something that everyone else is perfectly fine with. We are never satisfied.
Even this post will be tweaked before the “publish” button is clicked, and three days from now I will want to change something. (I wrote this yesterday in ink; I’m typing it now; and I’ve already changed a couple things)
The mind of a writer is a terrifying thing. What is going on in there leads to nightmares and moments when you space out trying to solve some plot twist. Random scraps of notes that are all gibberish to the ordinary person, but are pure gold to the author, frequent our lives and flat surfaces. We fill our notebooks with random odd sayings and pieces of conversation that we just might use someday, in some book that has yet to be written. We hoard our dictionaries and thesauruses. We keep books for varies pieces we like that we might include in a passage here or there.
And those are the good days.
Bad days are more frequent, in my opinion, and lead to giving up saying you’ll never write again. Days you want to rip up every typed page or shut down your blog because, hey, you’ll never write again. Depression where you are in such a funk that every living thing avoids you. The bad days feel like the depths of despair and there is no light at the end of the tunnels.
Oh, but we are writers, and it’s a wondrous thing.
(for those who follow Kate’s Bookshelf, I’m being lazy and posting my post on each blog)