Σίσυφος, or Sisyphus, was a character of ancient Greek mythology. He was a king of old and a tricky, scheming, knavish one at that. He was so good at fooling the gods, he even cheated them out of death. Finally, Zeus and the other Greek gods had enough and condemned him. For all eternity Sisyphus was cursed, forced to push an immense boulder up a hill. This may not seem to be that bad, however the gods added their own Sisyphusian twist. Just before he reached the top of the hill, before he was able to rest and be at ease, the boulder would wobble and fight against him, until it was happily rolling back to level ground. Then, he’d climb down after it and begin the process all over again.
Writing can be like this. We struggle and toil at our own little schemes we have created. At times we have progressed and have momentum and may very well reach our goal. There are those other times, however, when we see our novel, poem, or novelette, back down at the bottom of our artistic hill.
Is it worth it? Yes! But also, no.
Sometimes it is a long period of writing and deleting, rewriting and writing again. We may be fooling ourselves that we will ever reach the top.
Lately, I have been focusing my efforts into my own final push. I know that as I race to finish this present draft before the end of the year, that, as the calendar turns its page, I will once again be at the bottom of the hill looking upwards at yet another draft. You may think that, like Sisyphus, another trip to the top may not be worth it. As a writer writing about the writing life, I submit that is all we can do. And, though we have yet to reach the top, we know we are closer to our goal having finished a draft, than if we had never started in the first place.
Keep writing my friends.