Climbing

Mountains - Autumn in Denali

Mountains – Autumn in Denali (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Every day I sit down in front of my computer and look at the screen. There are remnants of what I wrote the day before scattered across a Word document, scratches across the soil of my excavation. I’m trying to unearth a story, and it’s not an easy task.

When I look at that screen, almost every time, I experience a profound fear. I glance over the words, and I wonder where they came from. Sometimes I wonder who wrote them. They look so unfamiliar.

And then I begin to feel sick, like I’m lost, like I’m just pretending. Because I have no idea how to make words like that appear on the page again. I know I’ve forgotten how to do it, that my story will die in the middle of a random page because I’ve forgotten how to write the lines, the words, just like I’m feeling now, trying to finish this sentence.

Sometimes it takes more time, sometimes less, and then a thought will come. I write it down. I take a note. Then a few more thoughts come, building off of the first. I write them down, and then change my mind. I move the cursor back to the place on my manuscript where I left off and begin again.

Many people compare writing a novel to climbing a mountain. When you begin, the climb seems so high that you don’t know how you are going to make it up the thing. But with each step you get closer and closer. And if you just keep climbing, you’ll eventually be able to see the peak.

That’s what they say.

I also believe writing is like climbing a mountain, but not in the way I mentioned above. To me, as a writer, every morning, you have to start again, from the bottom.

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17 thoughts on “Climbing

  1. Yes, and sometimes it can be like climbing a rock face – carabiners and all! Once your anchors are tied in, just enjoy the journey, trust in your instincts and savor what you learned when you reach the summit! 😉

  2. I learned something about myself. I learned that when I came to the screen, I got scared (just like you’ve described). The fear, I discovered, was just a story in my head, a story that I was telling myself. I realized that creativity is ALWAYS present, always. What gets in the way is the story we tell ourselves. Prolific writers remove the stories. When I think I can’t write something, I now say, ‘What rot…start now.’ And I always do. Try it.

    • I find that to be true as well. I’m the one who thinks I’ve nothing left to say, but if I get out of the way, there story is always there, ready to tell me what happens next. Some days are harder than others to put ego aside, though. Thanks for the comment.

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