Some people talk about writing like they are chasing butterflies along the pretty garden paths of their manuscripts. Like their words frolic with Disney characters. They speak of churning out pages like a high-end laser printer.
I am not one of those people.
A few times a year I have one of those idyllic days but, most of the time, writing is an uphill grind. A teeth-gnashing session filled with curse words, clock watching and questions like, "Are we there yet?"
But we're writers. Writers persevere. Even if it's only one page at a time--hell, one sentence at a time--we keep going. We are mighty beings formed of stubbornness, creativity and caffeine.
Currently, I'm deep in a memoir about my crazy high-risk pregnancy journey. Rather than a grind, this manuscript is an all-out pain-fest. Instead of making up story lines and black moments for fictional characters, I'm reliving my own.
The only thing getting me through this memoir is my Bikini Wax Theory of writing.
Let me explain...
A few decades back (when I still cared about creative ladyscaping), I'd go to those cutely-named wax joints with names like Pretty Kitty, The Lunch Box, The Sugar Shack. People in those places know their way around a bikini line.
But one day I was in a rush and I needed some emergency ladyscaping.
[Don't judge. You know you've been in a rush to get ready for a date at some point in your life.]
I was at the hair salon and they offered waxing and, well...time was the only thing I had in short supply that day. So, I found myself in a back room with a woman with fluttery hands who asked a lot of questions about how I was doing.
Are you comfortable?
Does that feel okay?
Is the wax too warm?
The people at the cute-name places never asked how I was doing. They were like moms on a marathon to get the sandwiches done before the school bus arrived. They'd slap and smooth and rip like the pros they were. In the time it took my uber-polite fluttery girl to get ready, they'd have done a full Brazilian on a Sasquatch.
Finally, we got to the main waxing event. She smoothed on the warm wax, pressed her strip of linen over it. I sucked in the quick breath that goes along with having hair ripped out of your body and... She paused.
That very sweet polite fluttery woman paused when she should have kept ripping. She didn't want to cause me pain. She was afraid she'd done something wrong. She wrung her hands and gushed out her story. The usual waxer was out sick. They'd pulled her over from pedicures. She was sorry, sorry, so so sorry.
And meanwhile, a hardening strip of wax is hanging off me, my bikini line is on fire and I'm out of time.
I shrieked at her. "There's no pausing!"
I did the quick breathing of insane pain and gritted my teeth. "We can't stop halfway. We've still got to do this. Please, please, just get it over with."
Eventually, with much more pain than necessary, she got through the process. By dragging it out, she'd wrecked my timeline and my dignity. Plus, she caused enough bruising to make me call off the date. I needed to curl up with ice packs instead.
That sweet woman was an epic failure at waxing, but she taught me a very important lesson about writing. I think of her whenever my writing leaves me wrecked and sobbing. Whenever I don't want to finish a scene or a chapter because it hurts it hurts it hurts.
I'm only prolonging that pain by stopping halfway. It will still be waiting for me. It always is.
We all know the pain of the half-finished scene/chapter/novel. It hangs off us like hardening wax, ripping at us more deeply than if we'd just faced the page and gotten through it to the other side.
So, I'm here to remind all of you (and myself):
We're writers. Writers persevere. Even if it's only one page at a time--hell, one sentence at a time--we keep going. We are mighty beings formed of stubbornness, creativity and caffeine.
When in doubt, just keep going, y'all. You've got this. And you're my tribe, so I've got this too.
One last pro tip: If you feel the need for some lady(or man)scaping, especially if you're shooting for edgy mojo, pick the place with the cute naughty name. They've got the skills to get the job done fast.
What gets you through to the other side when "you don't wanna" [fill in the blank]? Share your motivation tips (and any juicy stories) with us down in the comments!
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About Jenny Hansen
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.