Writers: Dare to Be Unhappy


Each time I sit down to write, my heart begins this obnoxious thumping, seeming to warn me that I’m about to do something risky. You would think I had an appointment for my yearly exam, the old ‘put your feet in the stirrups’ and stare at the ceiling while the doctor gropes around for something neither one of us is expecting or desiring. Fortunately she doesn’t often discover anything. But when I sit in front of the computer with pounding heart and labored breathing, discovering something is exactly what I’m afraid isn’t going to happen.

Writing should be fun–and it is to an extent. Especially when you finally finish the novel you’ve struggled with for months or, perhaps, years. At least, for a while, but then you’ve got to sweat out wondering if anyone will even notice. (Excuse me, I’ve got to get on-line and check out my sales for the umpteenth time today.) Nope. Damn!

I guess you’ve guessed that I’m not always happy when I’m writing. Ironically, I’m even more unhappy when I’m not. Oh, I may be dancing wildly with anyone who’s brave enough to share the floor with me or clapping and cheering without any modesty for my grandson as he bows after his piano concerto or even rolling raucously around on the floor with my daughter-in-law’s Shih Tzu, Nala. From all appearances I have a perfectly joyful life. However, there’s always a tiny voice in my head that keeps repeating, “You should be writing … you should be writing …you should be writing.

I  feel quite confident in my feelings. After all, the incomparable Ben Jonson said, “Who casts to write a living line, must sweat.” More simply: Writing’s work. “Let’s face it, writing is hell” (William Styron) or “It’s a nauseous process” (Rebecca West). However, I must admit that once the juices start flowing, my heart beat slows and my breath comes more easily.

Yesterday I finally sat down again to work on my third novel, Voices in the Dark. It’s the third in the trilogy, The Beryl Stone Series. Getting started wasn’t easy. From 9 a.m. to 11:30, I had to reread what I’d written, make notes, etc.–after all, it had been three weeks since I’d sat down to write. At 11:30 I escaped to the rec center to clear my head and, then, began to make headway in the afternoon. I’m happy I managed to write a bit over 1000 words in that time, but unhappy because it took me so long to begin. And there’s the fact that I can’t write again until this afternoon as my morning is jammed with the paraphernalia of life. I should be writing … I should be writing … I should be writing.

I think I’ve “simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.”

3 thoughts on “Writers: Dare to Be Unhappy

  1. I just want to mention I’m very new to blogging and certainly liked your web blog. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You surely come with terrific posts. Regards for sharing with us your blog site.

  2. Hi Theresa, I enjoyed this article and applaud you for following this creative path. Do you remember Doug Stearns? He also has a book coming out soon. I think it is a sci-fi called “Harmonic Wars”.

    I’m a grandma, too…7 times. Brandon and Marty (Bracamontez) have 4 in Lawrenceville, GA, Troy has one girl in Bedford, and Nicole has 2 boys under 3 in Orange County, CA. It’s hard to have such distance between us.

    I look forward to reading your books, someday. I’ve had numerous health issues which have hampered my concentration ability, but it seems to be getting better. Next is a hip replacement in August to dread.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Carol,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to contact me. It has been a long time. And I’m so happy to hear about Brandon and Marty and their little girl, as well as Nicole and her baby boys. How wonderful! I know how difficult it is to be away from family. Meredythe and family are in Nashville, and we don’t get to see them nearly enough. Thankfully, Andrea and her son are in RR and Scott and Casey are in Cedar Park. They are having a baby boy in November. Please tell you kids hello for me. They were all such great students.

      Please stay well. Keep me posted.

      You can get Dancing Naked in the Rain on Kindle and Stars Walking Backward will be on Kindle soon.

      Take care.

Comments are closed.