Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writing is hard

Writing is hard.

It's hardest when your daydreams are demanding. 

Or when you are hungry. 

Or tired. 

When your routine gets thrown off.

And the universe isn't aligning for your optimal working pleasure.

It's so easy to be lazy. Watch TV or read a book. As long as I can remember, though, I have had this consciousness that you can create entertainment or you can consume it, but you can't do both at the same time. At the current time in my life, there is next to no TV. It's pretty easy to stop watching, actually. I don't miss it. Jim and I sporadically download a few comedies and get caught up. The Office, Thirty Rock, Parks & Rec. We don't see many movies. I do miss them, but it's less of a big deal than I'd have thought.

The harder thing to shun is the internet, because some evil genius had the idea of making it instantly accessible via my work tool, that is: my computer. This is really a horrible horrible idea, and I often fight a losing battle against it, as evidenced by my being here right now, instead of deep inside the Scrivener doc I can see open behind this blogger screen. (hellooo there, novel!)


I have Freedom. I just need to have the will to enable it. I'm working on that right now. Not now-now, but in my life in general. Meanwhile, now-now, I'm tired, so I will probably climb into bed and read a few pages of book and then doze off. 

From downstairs, the cereal is calling to me in a tiny voice, trying to convince me now is a fine time for an ultra-early breakfast. Oh, how I wish I could. Cereal, I long for you too. But we just can't be together right now. It's not you. It's me.

Sometimes, a good reason to go to sleep is: in order not to eat! Then, when you wake up, it is magically time, like a time machine straight to breakfast! 

With that, good night!


Anonymous said...

Hi Laini - thanks for this brilliant (and brilliantly-timed!) post... It is so good to be reminded that writing is HARD (even for the multi-published and clearly talented)and that, although I find it hard, that doesn't mean I'm not 'meant' to be a writer or that I suck at it; it's just hard. Argh!

tanita✿davis said...

DUDE. That is my all-time favorite reason to go to bed.

And yes, writing is hard. April is supposed to be the cruelest month, but I swear January is the hardest month to pull yourself back together after all of the schedule disruptions of December.

Hang in there; February is coming.

KT said...

Every computer has a little switch somewhere on it that instantly turns off the LAN/Wi-fi connections. If you are desperate enough, that much distracted and unable to pull yourself away, all it takes is a little *flick*.

And sleeping is a good reason not to eat. I completely agree with you on that.

KT said...

Every computer has a little switch somewhere on it that instantly turns off the LAN/Wi-fi connections. If you are desperate enough, that much distracted and unable to pull yourself away, all it takes is a little *flick*.

And sleeping is a good reason not to eat. I completely agree with you on that.

Hello Hoobubby / Alexandra said...

Everything and every time you eat now directly impacts ME! Please remember that. I passed on a cookie yesterday because I set my priorities on cake.

Remember you said last year "The book can only defeat you if you give up." I know this will be another amazing book- can't wait!!

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

This is another reason I don't have internet at home....except on the iPhone....which is a distraction in itself. I have a hard enough time at work, which is where I am now, and should be doing other things.....'nuff said. : )

Hope Jim is feeling better.

Evie said...

wHaT? Lock out the internet? *shivers* OMG, no! You-my mostest favorite, wonderfully talented, amazing author-may not need a Thesaurus, but I love mine and it makes me happy to have it open in the background. It helps me with that tip of my tongue thing that seems to be happening more and more lately.

FYI, you're a big hit with the surgeons and nurses here, so non-YA folks are definitely reading your stuff!

megwrites said...

It's so hard to write when you're tired. Staring at a computer screen is way too soporific.

Chelsea said...

*Sigh* I'm going through the same thing right now (which is why I'm here right now instead of writing). It's nice to be reminded though that even published authors struggle.

You can do it!

dawn said...

OMG! it's as if you crawled into my head to have expressed longings for focus (for me) and food. the daydreams are MONSTROUS during any part of the *house* process...this, now i know. :gulp:

tone almhjell said...

That's for sure. Today I cleaned the *shower curtain* before I could drag my silly behind over to the desk chair and plant it there.

And K.L.'s flick thing? I did that today.

Emily said...

I totally agree about the breakfast thing, by the way. I've never commented on your blog-been reading for a few months now-but I just wanted to comment now to tell you I have been loving your new blog. The pictures of Morocco, Clementine, Portland, etc. are gorgeous! I also love the way your voice comes out in your writing and am so excited you're back to blogging again. I know the focus will come back!

Stephanie Perkins said...

I wish Freedom had an additional option where I could say, "Start Freedom in ___ min" and there'd be a little countdown clock, and then I could play online for that many minutes, and then it would boot me off to work.

Writing IS hard. :)

Anonymous said...

Laini, the solution to your problem is simple.

Step 1: Eat when you're hungry (Always do this, ESPECIALLY when trying to lose weight. Still unsure of why you are trying to slim down even further, but to each her own . . .)

Step 2: Sleep when you're tired. No good, writing or otherwise, will come of a tired brain.

Step 3: Realize that daydreaming is necessary to book creation, whether the daydream is directly related to your book or not.

Step 4: Realize how lucky you are to be making a living doing what you love. Writing is EASY, compared to everything else.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi all! Got behind in responses here.

Sarah, I sometimes used to feel like if writing wasn't coming easily I obviously wasn't a "writer." Now I know that to be total hooey -- I love the quote, "A writer is someone to whom writing is more difficult than it is to other people." Thomas Mann. Love it! I think it is because of the pressure we put on ourselves. We are [most of us] perfectionists to some degree in our chosen art. If you took someone who did not care to be a writer and commanded him/her to write a novel, any novel (some carrot or stick involved), I think they could do it without caring if it was good or not, and that's a different matter altogether.

Tanita, ha ha! I am not alone! :-) And yes, goodbye January. Too bad February is so short!!

KL, that isn't enough for me, knowing I could just . . . switch it back ON :-)

Hoobubby, thanks :-)

Jennifer, no internet at home. Hm. A good idea, and yet. I don't think I could do it! I'll stick to Freedom!

Evie: surgeons and nurses?? Reading ME?? Awesome. Where do you work?

Meg, yeah. The only exception is when you're in a really good exciting place and things are happening just as you want them too. Then it's so awesome you don't even get tired. Wish this happened every night!

Chelsea, you too! :-)

Dawn, yeah. House dreams. Design blogs. Not good. Not good at all. I cannot be trusted.

Tone, shower curtain! You've got it bad! :-)

Emily, thank you, and thank you for commenting!!!

Steph, ooh, a Freedom countdown clock. Yes. I would have it on now, ha ha.

Anonymous, simple it may be, but simple is not the same as easy, alas. Something may be uncomplicated and still difficult. Like, say, climbing a mountain. You just climb it, right? Simple. But not easy.

I do eat when I need to. I do sleep. And I do permit myself ample daydreaming time. But one can only indulge oneself so much and hope to ever get anything done. It's all about balance, and sometimes that's easy and sometimes it is anything but.

I do realize I'm lucky to be making a living, but I also assert that it is not pure luck. I work hard and I worry and fret and try to perfect my craft. As for writing being easy compared to EVERYTHING ELSE, what are you talking about? I will give you that it is easier than many things, but the way you phrase that seems to imply a lack of respect for the act and art of writing. Is that the case?

Anonymous said...

I think what I was trying to say was that sometimes you are too hard on yourself (i.e., thinking you should be able to create masterpieces while drowsy and cereal-deprived).

Lack of respect? If that's what came across, then a thousand apologies! Completely unintended, I swear. Of course you are not successful by pure luck. What I was trying to say was that many people work hard, but are unable to do work that has meaning to them, as you do. My takeaway is this: things without meaning are "hard." Things with meaning are comparatively "easy."

Am also a writer who enormously admires the world you have created for yourself. And am sorry if I p.o.'d you :-)

Elizabeth said...


he acknowledges it too. :) and i mostly thought you would just enjoy.

and this too. tee hee.


Laini Taylor said...

Anon, oh gosh, no worries and no "p.o." ! I didn't really *think* that's what you meant!

As for my complaining, yeah, sometimes a little context check is in order. Writing is hard in a particular way that garners very little sympathy -- as it shouldn't. Writers making a living are indeed very lucky people and should never be pitied! But I have found the hard way, over a course of years of procrastination, that it is also important we not pamper ourselves too much. Writing must get done in the time a person has. And if they're hungry, or tired, they must find a way to deal with it and keep writing. But yeah, I deserve no pity!!! :-)

Elizabeth, ooh, I just watched part of it, and look forward to the rest, as a treat at the end of my soon-to-begin (Freedom at the ready) work session. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes, a good reason to go to sleep is: in order not to eat! Then, when you wake up, it is magically time, like a time machine straight to breakfast!"

This must be the most brilliant statement I've read...well, in a long time! The whole post is great, but this tops it off superbly. I've only just found you, I will be reading more! Thanks!

Kristan said...

I can't tell you how much good it does my heart that even you, the glorious genius behind Lips Touch and DoSaB, find this work hard. Thank you.

(PS: If you get a bunch of comments on random older posts, it's because I'm randomly skipping through your archives for inspiration/motivation. Your friends Kiersten and Natalie have been my victims before... :P)

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