By Shane Cashion
It’s been a few years since I’ve done any “serious” writing. By that I mean something more than randomly jotting down an idea or messing around with a paragraph or two only to later lose it to an infected laptop or the clutter on my desk or in my life. Last year I tried to get it going again by setting a schedule that I promised myself to strictly adhere to. I set my alarm for seven each morning with the intent of devoting my first hour of the day to writing. It didn’t work. I can’t predict when the muses will inspire me, which is just a fancy way of saying: I can’t make myself feel like writing. For me writing is like going to the gym; sometimes you’re in the mood for it, sometimes you’re not.
Well now I’m in the mood for it, and have been for a fair clip. I’m working on my second book, loosely entitled Beneficiaries, in earnest. I want this to be my White Album, the capstone of my writing life. That isn’t to say that I don’t feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with my first book. It’s just that my intentions were modest: to write a humorous, light read that would appeal to my sophomoric friends. For this book, I want to feel like I never have to write another one.
What’s strange, I suspect, is that unlike most writers, I don’t really enjoy the process of writing. When a sentence or idea comes together, it’s deeply satisfying, but not always enough to overcome the constant feeling of being distracted. I’m not a person who can compartmentalize writing and simply put my thoughts away for another time. Instead, I become totally preoccupied with it. I ask for deposit slips at the bank so I can jot down sentences. I litter my car with Starbucks’ napkins full of messy little, red, blue, and black notes that I can’t decipher later. What’s more, I’m often frustrated by the shortcomings of my memory, which, coupled with the fact that writing doesn’t come easy to me, makes the entire process a chore.
Yet, I soldier on, leaving my comfortable habitat, compelled to move forward with the task, like the march of the penguins. I guess that’s why for people like me “The End” feels so rewarding.