The Writing Demon

Frankly, a razor would be less painful sometimes.
Frankly, a razor would be less painful sometimes.

March 25, 2012

I just sent off “The Divine Anomaly” to see if it will get accepted for publication. Like I wrote on Facebook earlier today, there’s a sense of peace that comes from finally saying, “It’s done.” I can focus on other things and switch to other modes of thought. I have a big item scratched off my to-do-list.

And it reminds me of why I write.

Students will often tell me they’re done with a work after about the second or third draft. That may be fine for a quick assignment, but for me, five or even six drafts are not enough. I have to make sure everything is just right. Of course, this has to balance out with my need to get the writing out. Eventually, one side has to shut up and the story must be declared “done.” That’s why deadlines, while annoying, are so necessary, even if they’re self-imposed. The entire thing is gut-wrenching and stressful and, let’s face, doesn’t pay well unless you make it big.

So why do I do this?

I could become a teacher. The pay’s better, and I’ve done it before. I can handle a room full of kids, middle school or high school or college. I could hire myself out as a copyeditor. That’s another job I’ve done, too. Article writing for publishers who need bulk material? Done that too. All of them pay much better.

And yet I stay with one part-time job that lets me get by while I work on these tales.

You’d be right to think I’m crazy.

But maybe crazy isn’t the word. How many people out there have stories to tell? I think I have one or two. Maybe more. Like George Orwell said, there is some demon within writers, something that pushes them to these self-destructive places where everything vanishes and only the writing, the story, exists.

I’ve grappled with my own demon for years. I’ve tried to make time. Once, I shunned the world and everything in it for the sake of getting the demon out. Then, I realized I needed people, I needed contact, to stay sane. Now, I balance my home life, work, and this website while also trying to finish Charcoal Streets. The stories and themes have been bouncing around my head since 2005 and now I’m finally in a position to get them down and finish them the way I want to tell them.

It’s difficult to explain the need to create to non-artists. Yes, it would be easy to sputter articles out. It would be a simple to take up a teaching position to pay the bills. I could copyedit.

But I need to create.

Maybe this makes me crazy. Fine. It makes me crazy. But I enjoy it.

Now, let’s enjoy some well-deserved laughs. See you soon!

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