Headaches and perseverance…a “ferreting” exercise

I wrote this as my freewrite today and decided I’d post it here too. (P.S. My computer just tried to autocorrect “freewrite” to “ferret.” that’s the same, right?)

My head hurts like a bitch. It’s hurt since last nigh. I fell asleep too late and woke up too early and my plans to climb a mountain were jumbled and trashed by weather and I went back to sleep again and woke up still with the headache. Coffee helped and then it didn’t so here I am writing about how it feel less like a thumping headache, which I’m used to, and more like my brain is twisting and fighting against my skull. trying its darnedest to GET THE FUCK OUT. and GETTING THE FUCK OUT hurts like a bitch. Which probably means I should go out and buy some Aleve and take it but I literally did not even consider that solution until this very moment, which I think proves how much my head hurts.

Which I smile at because that sounds like something a character would say, something that might make an audience smile…

…It’s funny (?) to read about writers talking/writing about writing (say that 10 times fast). Everyone has their own tips and “rules” and ideas and pieces that work for them. Some write out outlines and histories, interview their characters, know the last line before the first, write in order or write out of order, have no idea where their characters are taking them, have no plan expect to write — on paper, on a computer…

The only constant I’ve seen, at all, anywhere, is simple: WRITE.

Write. Write. Write. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong, to delete, to start over, to keep going. Just get it on paper. Write it all down. Write everything, all the time.

It’s a claustrophobic and exciting idea. Claustrophobic because the there is literally no way to be sure of success. Claustrophobic because the world can get small around you when you put your pen to the page, when all the words and ideas settle super close to your brain and you try to just start writing about one character from one place doing one thing. It’s panicking to think about building characters and trusting them to become something, to trust that you are not wasting time, that you are not a fool, that wanting to write isn’t a fool’s errand.

I mean, it is. It’s crazy to write. It’s insane to expect it to work — to expect that one day, your stories will mean something to someone. There is an incredible volume of confidence and perseverance that you must protect within yourself in order to believe that.

But in those moments I convince myself that my stories can mean something to someone one day, that’s the exciting part. That’s when I feel like I’ve sprouted wings and the whole future is ahead of me and I can just flap toward it and it will open up to me and I will get somewhere beautiful and perfect, and I can fly there now! now! now!

So, it also takes patience. Painstaking, enjoyable, enjoy-the-journey, take-a-breath, be-here-now kind of patience. Patience to know I will get there, that the future, the ideas, my wings, exist.  That the only way to get there is one word at a time.

So. Pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard.


Note: In case you think the following is a bit discombobulated…you’re right. freewriting is about putting your pen to the page and just writing out everything that comes to your mind in the order it comes with no real regard for grammar, flow, narrative, the english language, etc…