Writing Is Exhausting
by ND Richman
I’m a man of action.
No, I don’t change in a phone booth but:
• I clean the house.
• I walk the dogs.
• I landscape and build garden walls.
• I tear down bathrooms and rebuild them.
• I can’t watch an entire football game or movie. I find something else to do.
• I cut short conversations while looking for stuff to put away.
• I’m rocking or my leg is bobbing, always.
So, you can imagine the looks of suspicion when I sit and write for hours. My wife glances at me often. I interpret these glances as annoyance for my laziness, but really, I’m sure she’s concerned I’m going to blow.
The biggest surprise of all? When I’ve finished writing, I’m tired.
“Gee, Dad, how can you be tired? You’ve been sitting for the past three hours.”
This is my answer to that question.
My parents are beaten, pulled from our house, and kidnapped as I cower in my bedroom.
I tremble in fear, trapped inside a secret place, while men with guns hunt me down.
I drive a truck through a garage door and cringe as the metal door scrapes off the paint.
My jet boat capsizes while bullets whiz by my head.
My mother sneaks me from the house as my father thrashes about on a drunken rampage.
I meet the boy I once bullied, on his terms now, and survive his wrath and the guilt I endure for what I have done to him.
I cling to a cliff-edge, frozen and alone. And fully aware I’m about to plunge to my death, I let go.
I awake, trapped inside a coffin, and scream for the last time.
A creature clamps its jaws over my head. Its saliva runs down my face. I gag on my puke, and I’m too terrified to consider whether I’ll make it.
My mother collapses and draws in her last breath, and I cry in anguish.
I fall in love for the first time.
I grieve for all I have lost.
I wonder for all I have accomplished.
I feel every emotion my characters feel. I live every moment they live.
I shake with excitement.
I’m smug with pride.
I weep with pain.
I tremble in fear.
I laugh with joy.
I suffer remorse.
I die in anguish.
And all in one session.
So yes, writing exhausts me. And when my readers are exhausted, when they feel the excitement, pride, pain, fear, joy, remorse, anguish, and love I feel when I write, I have met my goal as a writer.
ND Richman is the author of “The Boulton Quest” series books Brothers, Bullies and Bad Guys, Sinners, Survivors, and Saints, and Fighters Feared and Fallen.