Thursday, August 23, 2012

Writing isn't Sexy

There's nothing sexy about grabbing a cup of coffee at 6:30 am, with two days beard growth and bed head scary enough to cause a heart attack.

I was in love with the Beat Writers.  I wanted to be Jack Kerouac or William S. Burroughs.  I wanted to travel the country, the world even, sleeping under the stars and getting high so that I could write in 20 hours stretches until, too exhausted to move, I'd stagger to the nearest bar and drink until dawn.

That's what I thought writing was.  Sexy, cool, visceral.

Either I'm doing it wrong or it's not as sexy as I thought.

Writing is work. There are no shortcuts to this shit.  I wrote Deathday in 8 weeks. I wrote FML in 12 months. I wrote The Walls over and over again over the course of 2 years.  Books take as long as they need to take. They take sweat and blood and every last ounce of patience you have to give them.  They will screw with your head in all the best ways.

Honestly, I'm not sure how guys like Kerouac did it.  Maybe they had something I don't.  Of course, Kerouac also died young of cirrhosis  of the liver, and there's definitely nothing sexy about that.

I'm still in love with the Beat Writers.  But I don't want to be them anymore.  Being me is good enough. Bedhead and all.


  1. LOL. I tried to be a beat writer for a while, except without the writing. Then I realized I was going to end up dead or in prison, so I got a job.

    1. Ha! I'm so there with you. I had a friend and I basically told him that being an addict doesn't make you an just makes you an addict. But there's such a romantic allure, isn't there?

  2. I LOVE the Beats too, and after I read ON THE ROAD, I also thought the writing life would be all glamorous and exciting. Ah, well. Aren't books meant to be our escape from reality? In my head, I'm so living the ritzy, partying, writing life.

    1. I picture you more in the mold of Truman Capote than Kerouac. The fancy dinners and glamour. I can totally see that.

      Maybe we'd have more fun if we got all dolled up before we sat down to write. I'll wear a tux if you wear a gown. How about it? We can smoke long cigarettes and drink martinis. I doubt it will help my writing, but it'll probably be fun!


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