The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself"—Benjamin Franklin
So you guys, I was talking to my best friend this morning and she said something along the lines of, "You know, you're more motivated than I am."
First of all, I totally disagree. Especially about being motivated, because she is one of the most dedicated gym-goers I've ever met. Even more shocking, she actually seems to like going to the gym (we have loads of things in common but I assure you, this is not one of them). So I think her motivation trumps mine any day of the week.
But she was referring to writing, and we started talking about the differences between her motivation—she actually enjoys the process of working out (I literally cannot even imagine this)—and mine. For me, I have to say, I don't love writing. I do not sit down at the computer all excited and happy and watch words appear on the screen after I've typed them on the keyboard. It is not blissful. Instead, I am often dreading whatever it is I have to write, whether it's for work, my book, or even, dear friends, this. I am in a panic. Every. Single. Time. What if it doesn't come to me? Why do I do this? AND WHO CARES? It's all angst and yelling and whining and pain, I tell you.
And then the words start to come and they slowly appear...it's not a pouring of words, more like a dribble...and word by word, sentence by sentence, what I wanted, and needed to say, appears in front of me.
As Dorothy Parker is claimed to have said, "I hate writing. I love having written."
And so, it's taking me a long time to get this book finished.
When I started, some time in January 2014, I remember thinking, naively, that I'd be done this baby by summer and have an agent by September. And, by some miracle, I really did have a first draft done rather quickly. It was pure determination, though, and I knew that if I stopped, if I missed one day of writing, I would forever fall off track. I felt a compulsion to get it written, and amazingly, it worked.
That was about two years ago. Since then, I have been in the not-so-blissful stage of rewriting. Only here's the thing...I hadn't actually rewritten a thing, until very recently. Oh, I edited. I went through a version or two, and sent it to agents and got some good feedback. But when I got really good feedback, when I found a way I could actually take my small revisions and turn them into a big, and effective, rewrite, do you know what I did?
I literally could not go on.
And it felt awful. More awful than actually sitting down to do the work would have felt, certainly. And so another quote comes to mind:
"Writing isn't something that makes me happy like a good cup of coffee. It's just something I do because not writing, as I've found, is so much worse.” ― Quentin R. Bufogle
And so, you guys, finally, there has been some progress, and I've passed the 'so much worse' stage of frozen panic. I've started over with a brand new prologue, and I like it. Much better than I liked it before. But more than that, more than what I've actually gotten on paper, is the fact that I'm making progress.
It may at a snail's pace, but I'll tell you what...I'll take it. Pursuing happiness...one page at a time.
Danielle Davies (@daniellendavies) is the creator of the internet sensation, My Life with Bradley Cooper, as well as a writer and artist living in New Jersey. Read more...
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