The Down Side to Writing by Becky A

On our previous blog Pat spoke of the downside to writing for her. This really got me to thinking about what I disliked about the whole process. I feel it is good to share these kinds of things in order to mentally prepare anyone who desires to write. There are parts that you are not going to like about the writing process, and you are the only one who can decide if the price you must pay is worth it.

For me, and this is going to sound a tad bit superficial, sitting on my backside for hour on end is a real downside. Not only that, it’s a royal pain, literally! I have never been one to sit for long periods of time and my body lets me know how unhappy it is with all that BICHOK. When my legs begin to swell I start hopping up and down, doing little things around the house to keep the circulation going.

Another is writing the tough emotional scenes, and for some reason, I write a lot of them. I don’t like pulling on old memories, old pain, to bring those scenes to life. It’s hard and I must revisit some stuff I would prefer to ignore. However they say that writing is cathartic so I guess for me, it’s a good thing no matter how it feels.

Often when I am slogging through an especially hard part, like the black moment, I will get up about every five to ten minutes and go do something else for just a little bit. It relieves the emotional pressure but drives my hubby nuts. I suppose I must look like a jack-in-the-box running in and out of the Living Room every few minutes. So between keeping the blood flowing and relieving the emotional pressure, I spend a lot of time getting up and down. I think I’ll name my new exercise routine, The Writers Way to Weight Loss. Of course far too many of my little trips are to the kitchen, hunting for whatever snack is calling my name!

The only other thing that seems to really bug me is the time issue. I have two little ones running around my house during the week and my writing time during the day is often in snatches of a few minutes here and there. Nap time provides a bigger chunk but by then Grandma usually needs a few zzz’s too! (Not to mention a little shoveling duty so I can walk across the floors without breaking my neck.)

All in all for me these are minor issues. The satisfaction I feel as I complete each scene more than makes up for any discomfort. And when someone reads my “masterpiece” and understands what I was trying to convey, it obliterates all those annoying aches and renews my desire to keep writing. So my friends as you contemplate the perks and the pains of writing, let me know what is on your list and how you deal with it. I would especially like to know how you deal with the tough, emotional scenes. My husband will thank you.


Joan Vincent said...

Becky good points. Its not only our backs and legs that suffer but out wrists. It took a while to get my chair adjusted (and the right chair) to limit back problems and an ergonomic keyboard to prevent carpal tunnel. Getting up frquently actually is a good thing. I have to work at remembering that when the writing is going well.

I usually write through heavy emotional scenes from beginning to end without stopping. I can remember tears streaming down as I wrote a death scene. These are very draining. I try to do something distracting and energy using after writing one--cooking, cleaning. gardening. I tried walking but that had me rewriting the scene in my head! Writing that evokes emotions in the way the author intended are satisfying for writer and reader which is our best reward as writers.

Roxann Delaney said...

There are a lot of jobs out there that require more sitting than writing does. In some jobs, the worker is allowed to stand at the desk or work station. For others, it's advised to take a short break (5 min) every hour to stretch, walk around, get away from the desk.

As writers, I think we forget how important it is to step away from our work every hour or so, not only for the sake of our bodies, but for our minds, as well.

Joan offered an important tip. Ergonomic keyboards, mouse pads, and even the chairs we sit in are very important to keep us from the problems that the more sedentary careers require. If necessary, set a time or alarm as a reminder to get up and move!

Becky A said...

Hi Joan,
My husband keeps telling me I need to get a better chair. I'm not much on shopping so I keep putting it off. Maybe I'll re-think that after reading your comment. I've never heard of an ergonomic keyboard. Can you explain more on that?
I like your idea on using something to distract me after writing an emotional scene. I may not do a lot of re-writing but I sure do a lot of second guessing!
Thanks for your great thoughts.

Becky A said...

One good thing about having the grandkids around during the day is I don't have to worry about sitting too long. It's in the evenings and on weekends where I get into trouble. Over the summer I did use a timer for awhile to make sure my backside survived. If I was really smart, LOL, I would do five minutes of exercise each break instead of heading to the frig for a snack!
Thanks for the input.

Roxann Delaney said...

Becky, I may know some of the right things to do. That doesn't mean I always do them. *grin* I just can't make myself quit in the middle of something when the writing is going well. My body pays for that, big time.

Becky A said...

If we all did what we knew we should do, life would be boring!
It is very hard to leave our work when it's flowing. Unfortunately I have to do that a lot and my brain occasionally has trouble getting back into the flow. Anyone out there have any tricks to keep on track when you get interupted mid-inspiration?

Sharon N said...

I go back a couple of paragraphs and reread what was going on. By the time I've reached the spot where I stopped, I'm back in the scene with my characters.

Becky A said...

Thanks Miss Sharon,
I usually end up going back to where the scene starts. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

Penny Rader said...

Becky, would it be easier for you to write standing up? I was thinking of those table thingies I've seen at hospitals that fold up when not in use. Something high enough that you don't have to lean over.

As far as writing those emotional scenes, just open a vein. ;D Just kidding. I know it's not that easy.