Writing is hard work. There are always blank pages to stare at, ideas that come only when you’re about to fall asleep or in the shower without a pen. (Turns out, iPads don’t fare any better in water than paper pads do – who knew?)
And even worse, it’s lonely. Our friends and family members can’t quite understand why we’d rather be staring at that blank computer screen or scribbling furiously on any porous surface within reach rather than going out to lunch or binge-watching Orange is the New Black with them. (Okay, maybe the binge-watching still happens.) But nobody else shares your particular blank page or fatal-feeling case of writer’s block.
So why do we do it? It’s not for the fame or the money. Even the biggest dreamers among us know it would be easier (and probably cheaper) to invest in lottery tickets. Difficult, lonely, and lacking in material rewards – what makes any of us bother?
It’s more exciting than it sounds. Everything I said above is true. There are blank pages, there are times of despair, but then there are those other times, the magic ones. When the big, white spaces suddenly give way to flowing rivers of pixels or ink, and where there once was nothing, there is now something. Something real. Characters that never existed, times and places that have suddenly sprung into being, organized thoughts that you didn’t even know were locked inside of you. Suddenly, they’re not just imaginary, they’re real, there on the page.
It’s bigger than us, more than the here and now. When we write, when we create something that never existed before, we touch a piece of immortality. Our bodies may not live forever, but our words can. My grandmother was a writer, a poet. She was never published, never earned a penny from her work. But even though she died when I was eight years old, there still exist these pieces of her, this beautiful work that says she was real, that she was here, and when her words are read, her voice transcends time and space and she’s still here. Money and fame may not be our rewards, but eternity is.
Maybe it’s not so lonely, after all. Sure, we’re alone when we do it. We may even forsake human interaction at times in order to invest in our ink instead. But are we really alone? There’s a giant community out there, writers, readers, people whose hearts dance to the rhythms of language, of new ideas, of thoughts connecting with others through the tiny miracle of pen and ink.
It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Breeana Puttroff holds a B.A. in English from the University of Northern Colorado, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and Literacy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She has loved making up stories since she could talk and for many years, her biggest audience was the fantastic students she had the privilege of teaching.
One summer afternoon, while she was picnicking in the beautiful mountains of her Colorado home with her little girl, she saw an old, broken stone bridge, and she just knew there was a story inside. Six months later, the Dusk Gate Chronicles was born.
These days, she runs a small business and writes from home while planning math lessons, digging caterpillars out of garbage disposals (oops!), discovering how to make new colors out of crayons melted in the dryer, and drinking lots of coffee (and occasionally tea). She loves it when readers connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, especially if they have new recipes for disastrously good times with kids.