I’m sitting alone in the library on a Friday night trying to work through a tricky scene in the film script I’m writing right now. I’ve got my headphones in and my iPod on shuffle, and Wade Bowen’s “Bottle Into Gold” just came on. Aside from being a fantastic song, it seems just too fitting for my situation right now. The song is about a struggling artist (I like to cast that artist as a writer, personally) as he sits up late, alone, trying to turn his bottle of liquor into inspiration and write something worthwhile.

A lot of times writing can be really frustrating. Even when you have great ideas and everything seems ready to click into place, the words you need just slip away. You can type and type away, trying to get through enough of that lousy first draft to spark inspiration. I’ve had some of that tonight, and I have more ahead.

I guess in a weird, slightly masochistic way that’s part of the draw. Writing isn’t easy. So when you find that line that just works (for this draft, at least), or the muse deigns to rest upon you for a brief while, and by the grace of God you write something good, it’s valuable. Writing is hard work, but it’s got a wonderful reward, even just in the sense of personal fulfillment. I’d guess the explosion of blogs in the last ten years is a testament to that.

There is one key difference between me and the guy in the song, however. He’s got the bottle to keep him company as he pulls his hair out over the words on the page. I don’t.

Damn you Wheaton College.

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