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Throwback Thursday #3

The pendulum of writing

Originally posted 6/17/2016

Nathaniel Hawthorne by Brady, 1860-64 (1)

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne

‘It may never be good enough’, a refrain that, while keeping me editing, innovating, creating, also causes me deep anxiety, dark moods, and somber dreams of mediocrity. It is this thought that keeps me from moving forward, and pushes me onward when I am burned out and bored. In part, because Hawthorne’s words are not for me alone, they are for us all. Know that in your hard moments, when you can’t lift a foot to move forward, someone else has been there, will be there, and your momentum will come back. The pendulum that is so far from center can’t help but swing you in a new direction.

When the words are silky, the ideas slippery, and the characters thick and sticky, I think I have slid past this marker. And sometimes I do, I have. And sometimes I don’t, because I cringe when I read aloud, or to a friend, or for the thirtieth time, reciting the lines, digesting them and regurgitating them and listening, once again, to their partnership with the preceding and following words. Life is sometimes winning, and sometimes not winning. Don’t use that F word, it’s not a Failure to have to re-write, giving up is Failure. Mistakes, as it happens, make the writing better.

​Writing is much like teaching a very young child how to hula hoop. The swing must be in balance, the rotation precise, loose and firm and steady and wobbly, all at once. Wibbly-wobbly, my Whovian son says, just be wibbly-wobbly and the words will flow out and together and, maybe, on into history. To my fellow writers, I say stay wobbly! Let the hard writing be part of the wibbly-wobbly of life, and we will never stop loving the work.

~Andy Lee

(1) Nathaniel Hawthorne. (2016, June 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:47, June 18, 2016, from

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