I Love (Finishing) Writing

Nobody loves writing. Nobody sits down at their computer, brimming with energy, verve, and good spirits, and merrily types until they’re done, feeling satisfied that the words they are choosing express their ideas in a concise, clear, and compelling way. Or maybe I’ll put it this way – how many great writers can you think of with long, happily boring lives? Regardless, this is the myth that keeps people from becoming better writers – that there are some people who are magically good at writing and others who aren’t. I’d qualify that statement by saying that there are people who stick around long enough to experience the weirder, rarer pleasures that writing brings. Writing isn’t satisfying (to me at least) when you’re in the process of it, but instead in its completion: when you’re able to translate the blob of ideas rolling around in your head into an elegant, complete, decipherable statement, it feels really, really satisfying. There is no better feeling than printing out something you’ve put your (mental) blood, sweat and tears into, stapling it, and handing it in. (And then punching the air and having a good primal scream in your car.)

In fact, the feeling of satisfaction and elation that comes with just finishing makes all other parts of writing bearable. Without fail, every time I sit down to write a paper, anxiety comes creeping in, and that brass ring of finally finishing just seems so impossibly distant, no matter how many times I know I have been through this process. While you’re writing, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees sometimes, and after that third cup of coffee it can seem like you’re marooned in your own swamp of mediocre, toothless ideas. By the time you’ve revised and really just antagonized over every phrase and word, it seems almost impossible to remember how you started. That’s the point though: writing is difficult. It would not be satisfying (and there would be no moment to fall in love) if it wasn’t.

Maybe it’s fair to add that almost all of the writing I do is for school. Do you feel the same way for the different types of writing that you do? Does the process change for you when there are no deadlines?

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3 Comments »

 
  • Julianne Candio-Sekel says:

    I agree that there’s no greater feeling than actually printing out the paper! For longer papers, I even get a feeling of relief in printing out papers just to edit them. There’s something different about looking at a paper on a screen and actually feeling it in your hands — the thicker the stack, the greater the pride.

  • Zach says:

    I think there’s a completely different sensation that I pair with creative writing (or personal work). One some level those things got to mesh for me because I spent so much time studying and writing poetry for my classes. That said, I feel so much more comfortable writing in the realm of the creative. Within a half hour I can easily produce ~400 words of fiction that I will undoubtedly shred and reform, but there’s something more cathartic about that process. There’s much more agony in academic writing. Each thought must be run through at least a dozen times before it gets to be formed onto the screen, and, even then, there’s a good chance that will get thrown out anyway. I don’t get to write creatively as often anymore, but when I do take the time I find it to be the much easier process of the two.

  • Danielle says:

    Most of my writing is also for school and I generally wait until the very last minute to start writing because I dislike it so much. So, I do wholeheartedly agree with you that, for school, there is nothing quite like finishing. I have become so accustomed to working under the pressure of a deadline. When I am writing for pleasure, without the deadline, more often than not I am not writing at all. I need that deadline now, in order to get anything done.

 

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