Writing is hard. Really Hard. Debatably, it is more difficult than doing any Chemistry Problem Set or memorizing any Biology PowerPoint. I can say that. I’m a biochemistry major. Writing is mentally taxing. It’s a boxing match that lasts 12 rounds, a test of endurance yet simultaneously a test of skill. You against the paper. You against your pen. And you against your mind. A whirlwind of ideas jostling for your attention, words that refuse to fit the way you want, the frustration of trying to make your metaphor work when it really doesn’t. And when that final bell rings, you collapse exhausted, emptied of everything you have. All you did was type 2500 words in Times New Roman in Microsoft Word. But you feel like you just fought a battle. And after a few moments of glorying in your work, you get up and do it all again. Once again facing a terrifying opponent, a blank page, racking your brain for some sort of halfway decent concoction of thoughts. To put your convoluted musings down to paper in a coherent manner.
As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” And knowing this, I still write. Why? Am I a masochist along with all the other writers in the world? I hope not. “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” – Thomas Mann. There is something intrinsically wonderful about this struggle. This struggle against my own thoughts, this civil war in my heads that bleeds out onto in a stream of words, inky black dots marrying with the cream paper. Or more likely, hundreds of tiny pixels glowing on my MacBook screens. There is a something inside me that is fighting to be released, to finally be set free and allowed to explore the world. It slowly builds, bubbling up until it can no longer be contained. And though the process of releasing it can be painful, it is a process that must occur. And it is a process that must not only occur me for me, but for thousands of other writers and poets around the world. This inner desire ultimately overcomes the fear of failure and the struggle to create.
And so I force myself to write. Or not really me, but something inside me. Something drives me forward, an unwilling slave. Sometimes I would gladly relinquish this feeling for the peace and comfort and constancy of a Physics Pledge Problem, but I am unable. Instead I gravitate to the uncertainty and potential of a blank page. It may be terrifying, but it is also enthralling. So even when I don’t feel like opening up a new document, or creating a new note, I force myself to. Because nothing good comes easy, and though the process may be painful, the end result is wonderful. At least some of the time.
I don’t know if this was easy reading, but it was damn hard writing.
Written by Joshua A.
April is the cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.
-T. S. Eliot
R2: The Rice Review
Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.