Friday, February 25, 2005

I Hate to Write

People who read my column in the paper often say things like, "So you enjoy writing, do you?" I hope I am not lying when I politely smile and nod because the truth is that I hate writing. I find it as tedious as picking burrs out of socks, as easy to put off as cleaning the oven.

Until I heard Lauraine Snelling speak at writers’ conference, I thought I was the only one who felt this way. No, Lauraine said, most writers hate to write. When deadlines loom, they do laundry, sweep cobwebs in the attic, even (I believe Ellen Goodman does this) line up the spices in alphabetical order, anything to justify not writing. Lauraine’s very last stalling tactic is cleaning the refrigerator, a job she despises. We all need a non-writer friend like her friend Sylvia, she says. She calls up Sylvia and says, "Umm, Sylvia? I’m about to clean the refrigerator." And Sylvia says, "Lauraine! You get back to your computer right now and get busy and write!"

I should clarify that we do like to write letters and blog posts and love notes. It’s those formal things that editors are waiting for that do us in. Dragging our reluctant selves back to the computer to once again pull stubborn words from the back of our heads and arrange them in the right order, we wonder, again, why we do this to ourselves.

The answer is that even though we hate to write, we love to have written. We love that byline just under the title and those neat paragraphs marching down the page. We delight in any attention we get, most of us not having gotten enough as children. "Are you the lady that writes in the paper?" a clerk at Costco asks, and we glow for the rest of the day. The mayor of Coburg emails to ask if we would participate in a spelling bee for History Days (yes, this happened to me this week) and we eat it up like a husband eats a dish of hot apple pie.

My deadline is at the end of the month, three days hence. I’m being very stern with myself: no blogging until I’ve spent an hour on my newspaper article. And if writing a blog post ever feels like harder work than cleaning the oven, I’m quitting.

Quote of the Day:
"I wonder when I'll get armpit hair."
--Jenny, age 5, who has too many teenage sisters


  1. One thing to make your writing easier: we love to read it. I so much enjoyed your AHQ Update on their website. Hang in there!

    Jenny is precocious!

  2. I am not a writer by any stretch of anyone's imagation, but I want to write so badly that I finally got a blog to force myself to write. I and others do enjoy what you say and the way you weave life into your stories. Please write often, after you do your column that is, for we need the splendor of life you add to our lives. Thank you very much for your efforts.

  3. Writing deadlines work wonders...on other things that we put off.

    Thank you, Dorcas.

  4. I for one love to read your column in the newspaper.. and also love your blog.. you got to keep feeds my addiction! LOL!!

  5. poor jenny shouldn't have to worry about that yet

  6. poor jenny shouldn't have to worry about that yet

  7. Morning Dorcas,
    You probably do not remember me, the little kid that came west 15 years ago.
    I enjoy your honesty.