I have a weird relationship with writing. There isn’t a part of my job that I love and loathe as equally. The satisfaction that comes with cracking a clever visual idea never comes close to the satisfaction I get when having written something I feel is interesting, clever and unique. A well crafted piece of writing always brings me great joy. Even more so if it’s me who’s done the writing.
The problem is I take zero pleasure in the process.
I put off writing this piece for about three weeks. During that time I sent several emails apologising to Jack (who had asked me to write this) saying I was ‘busy’, that the start of the year had been ‘hectic’ and that I would ‘definitely get to it soon’. All kind of true statements. But more importantly, all statements that bought me more time. Anything to put it off a little longer. Once I started, as is always the case, I immediately regretted saying I would do it.
I don’t consider myself a writer. I can’t write quickly. It never seems to just flow. It takes hours and hours for me to write a short piece. It’s not a natural state for me.
Eventually I sat for a full day trying to figure out what I was going to say but more worryingly, how I was going to say it. Somehow, over the course of the day, an idea emerged. I pushed it around until I felt like I had something resembling a finished piece. Was it great? No. Was it good? In parts, I thought. Was it finished? Yes. Relief. And maybe a little satisfaction. But very little pleasure.
I sent the piece to Jack, dusted my hands clean and moved onto the next thing. A week later I received an email from Jack thanking me for the time I’d spent and saying that while he liked it, he didn’t feel like it was quite there yet. He felt that it opened strongly, made some interesting points but got lost in the middle. He was right. But instead of being offended or feeling as though I’d failed, all I could think about was the fact that at some point soon I would have to sit down and fix it.
So here I am, having delayed delivery for as long as I can (again), committed to fixing something I probably should have said no to in the first place.
As much as I dread the process, I’ll continue to try and write. I’ll continue putting off starting and avoiding deadlines. I’ll continue to look for interesting ways in. And continue to search desperately for interesting ways out.
Next time, maybe.