Sometimes, actually a lot of the time the work you do can be hard, arduous. It doesn’t matter even if you are a freelancer and a writer at that. You pick up writing because you love it and are apt at it. Quite often both.
Still, a lot of the times, particularly if you have to go by that often used phrase “you have to live off something”, doing something you love turns into that now almost forgotten Lee Dorsey hit “Working In A Coal Mine”. For a bit younger generation the Devo version might be the more familiar one. Forgetfulness might have something to do with all the coal mines closing down but their vision of exacerbating work is still around.
The idea of the work you love turning into digging coal in a very dark, poorly lit hole for writers might have something to do with a number of things - they simply don’t like the subject matter they have to write about, have no affinity to it, don’t know much about it and it requires a lot of often tedious research.
What you often get is something where, instead of writing down ideas and thoughts and perceptions, there is a series of typed words formed into something that is supposed to be a sentence. Oh, the writers usually end up with something else - complete exhaustion and a feeling of a mission not really accomplished. And in those moments they can feel even more down if they play that brilliant Will Oldham song I See Darkness. His version, or even better, the even more brilliant one where he backs up Johnny Cash.
So how can the writers turn those lumps of coal and the surrounding darkness turn into a friendly light of a crackling fireplace?
Well, this time around that old, worn cliche of “the light at the end of the tunnel” is quite fitting. You should usually start off with an understanding of the purpose of the assignment from the aspect of the person/entity that wants it. Understanding their goals can clear the light for the writer too.
Then there is the purpose of the writer and reasons why he took on the assignment. Usually, when you pick up to work on something you don’t like or are not too familiar with, the predominant reason is a financial reward. And the value of that reward could be even higher if you learned something new that becomes more comprehensible through the process.
That is when that coal mine might resemble the contours of your working space at home or wherever and you might truly again enjoy Lee Dorset, Will Oldham or Johnny Cash and their coal mine and darkness scenarios.
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