Monday, February 23, 2015

The Red Pen of Terror

Ego is a funny thing. Every writer secretly believes their work is a masterpiece, although some boast this more openly than others. We all want our books to be published and to become a best-seller, an overnight sensation. Our stories are our legacies, our gifts to the civilized world. We imagine that people everywhere will be quoting lines from the pages of our beloved novels and swooning over the characters, that our plots will entice movie producers to transform our written words into blockbusters on the silver screen. Unfortunately, the reality is that most authors remain hidden in the shadows of obscurity never to have their work read by more than a few people. For most of us, that’s okay. We’re storytellers and we just want to get those stories out of our heads and down on paper. But… it’s still nice to dream.


There are days when I think I’ll never finish telling my stories; the words can’t come out fast enough. Instead of flowing beautifully, the ideas become bottle-necked in their rush to escape my brain, then belly-flop into the pool of blank paper, coming out jumbled like a big ball of Christmas lights pulled from a dusty box in the attic. When that happens, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and dig out my trusted Red Pen of Terror and begin the challenge of editing the mess. Other times, those words stay locked away, bouncing around in my head, making me wonder why I ever bother to call myself a writer when nothing actually gets written down.

Ideally, I’d like to not trip over my thoughts and to put them down on paper every day rather than letting weeks go by without a word. I confess that I am not diligent about making time to write every day. I am also a perfectionist. It’s hard for me to release my work. It never feels “complete;” there’s always one more thing that needs to be fixed or corrected or moved or added or changed or… well, you get the picture. My Red Pen of Terror and I are good friends; we spend more time together than I do with my Black Pen of Original Creativity.

The more I write, the more I learn about writing. The more I learn, the more I find to edit. The more I edit, the more I realize that my stories will never be perfect. That’s okay. My stories don’t have to be perfect; they just need to be told.

The same can be said for my life. It doesn’t have to be perfect and all my dreams don’t need to come true. I just have to live each moment with enthusiasm and ensure that the black pens outnumber the red ones.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing your comments. Your feedback and conversation is always welcome.