Inch By Inch, Word By Word: The Struggles Of Being A Writer

Sitting alone in his home draped in darkness save for the gentle blue glow of his computer monitor, he sips his drink. He neither asked for company nor would accept any, for he is working on his craft. Tonight is for imbibing his favorite drink and going deep into the labyrinth of his mind so he can put to words the events, people, and philosophies that occupy it. He is unable to fully think of such things in a sober state, so he turns to his glorious alcoholic vice.

His drink of choice varies, whether it be the sweet and rough kisses of Lady Liquor or the obvious teases and delayed gratifications of the tramp Beer. Tonight, he decides, he’ll tango with the tramp. He hopes her little flirtations will ignite something deep within him and maybe he will write something destined for greatness.

He’s typing away, struggling to manifest his thoughts. A clever sentence here, a snarky remark there—it’s a messy little dance. He grows excited when the words pour out and frustrated when they stagnate. As he takes another swig and anxiously walks around his home, he wonders if any more words will come to him. Or is he finished? Is he through? Is he just a fucking drunk pretending to be a writer?

The thought of being a nobody infuriates him. His mind is bursting with ideas. He has stories, jokes, and social commentary to disperse. Yet it feels like every word typed is an inch-by-inch uphill battle. Then a revelation, recalling Al Pacino’s halftime speech from Any Given Sunday:

You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing!

Writing, he thinks, is the same way. It’s fighting for that inch, for that word, for that sentence. Digging deep, fighting self-doubt, word by word. Tearing cynicism to pieces, sentence by sentence. If a word is misplaced, your message gets lost. If a sentence is structured incorrectly, your meaning doesn’t get across. A writer must be willing to pour all he has, tooth and nail, for those words and sentences. He knows that when he adds up all those hard-fought words and sentences, it’s the fucking difference between greatness and obscurity.

He smiles as he realizes that the struggle is part of the craft. It’s not supposed to be easy, and it’s not supposed to be fast. It’s about perseverance, worth ethic, and exhausting yourself for your dream. “Now quit your bitching,” he says out loud. “Get back to work and fight for that inch.” TC mark

image –Shutter Stock

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