Doing the Hard Stuff 6


My son sits across the dining room table, making wookie noises of distaste and frustration. I’m not trying to get him to eat his veggies; I’m asking him to write. Three little sentences about the book he is reading in Luitschool. He holds an orange flair pen and writes with the wobbly letters of a mad 8 year old. He hates writing. He hates reading. Every single assignment for these two subjects is met with expansive gasps as if we’re asking him to negotiate peace in the Middle East or hold his older sister’s hand for ten seconds.

He fights every step of the process.

From my seat at the table, I open and reopen the document that holds my prized work; my first finished novel. Serious Writerly Types know there is no such thing as finished; the word is void of meaning. SWTs sound like a bunch of depressive existentialists: is anything of worth ever really done, they ask, with French cigarettes pluming from ink stained fingers, their berets no longer jaunty but bereft and cockeyed. They lift a near-empty glass of red wine and pull it toward their red lips, hoping none of it dribbles down into the throated columns of their black turtleneck sweaters.

Or so I imagine.

I’m trying to fill out the story, adding a narrative for some important but heretofore ignored characters. But I can’t remember what I wrote! And I can’t remember what’s already happened! And I don’t want to be dramatic! Or beat any dead horses! Oh, me. Oh, my. My version of my son’s writing procrastination sans the wookie impression.

Hard things are hard.

I have no trouble finding time for the easy writing, the fun writing. I have no trouble fitting in the short runs or the quick chores. Hard stuff is hard; putting it off seems … efficient. Or at least more pleasant than sitting down and writing the three measly sentences that could possibly turn into a hundred well-wrought words.

I see him settle, this wildly energetic child who would rather be hanging upside down from a tree than spelling stupid words for his stupid class. I watch as his pen begins to fly across the page, and he decides he will get it done. And so I will open that chapter about that one lady, and I will start with three. Three words. Then three sentences. And then I will know her. And then I’ll be done.

As soon as I finish finding a good image to go with this post.

ps: after I wrote this, I knocked out the entire chapter, 2199 words.