The Process of a Writer


Maddie Porter, Ads Manager

Columns are the blue-eyed-boy of The Tenderfoot Times for me. I read them extra critically, turning the author’s thoughts and style over in my head to fully understand their purpose, and I take immense care and responsibility in writing them. I was so excited for school to start just to have an excuse to write an opinionated piece and release it to the public for scrutinizing eyes to dissect. Yet here I am. Starting over again, and again, and again, and again. It seems off that I should be lacking an opinion or a ridiculous metaphor that pans out to expose a lesson, yet still, I sit, expending futile efforts just to concoct an impossible knot of words and commas. 

My mind is teeming with ideas, and my Google Drive is stacked with introductory paragraphs to a myriad of thoughts, but none of them are destined to become anything. 

With each new idea that bubbles to the surface of my brain there is a celebratory build up. The words flow from my fingertips as if I was meant to write this. I am fulfilling my destiny by writing about the abhorrence that Google calls “Arial 11” font! But no, that still is not the one. I feel the excitement that crescendoed through me fizzle out like a flame that reached the end of the match. 

If you have ever seen The Polar Express you know the feeling. Each time they almost catch the ticket excitement and relief well up inside you. Then all of sudden it flutters out of grasp, and like a piano hitting the sidewalk from the second story, your hopes and dreams are shattered. Perhaps it is not that dramatic, but the disappointment fills your tear ducts and leaves a shell of a person watching Tom Hanks taunt children. 

Spinning around in my desk chair, my thoughts drift from Christmas movies to the writing process. A good piece is not written in one sitting. This is obvious, but what I struggle with is that a good piece often starts out as an abomination that has the potential to be fantastic. This is applicable to more than just writing as well. So what if I still don’t quite know how absolute value functions work? I can’t learn this from being told once, repetitive practice will encourage me to remember the steps to solving. At least I think that’s how math works.

Despite being the world’s preeminent expert on flim-flam, I am learning to submit to life’s processes. I’ve reached a point of acquiescence in the journey, but every day I am reminded that I am not special, every month I am going to struggle to write a column, and Algebra will never make any sense.