Tag Archives: Dread

The difference between Writing and Writering

MotivationNew Year’s Day, I mentioned I wanted to be “a writer”. My father-in-law corrected me:

“You are.”

That’s right; I am. I write regularly in pursuit of publication; I’m not merely journaling, blogging, or setting idle words to print in hope that “someday” I might come into my craft.

I write intently and deliberately and with passion.

So I corrected myself:

“I want ‘writer’ to be my day job.”

This is a goal I’ve had virtually all my life. But WHY?

The answer is because I enjoy writing. And if you do what you love, you never ‘work’ a day in your life…right?

Only here’s the problem. Sometimes writing feels like work. Sometimes instead of feeling excited about a project, I dread returning to it.

In other words, sometimes I don’t enjoy writing.

…so why do it?

If the purpose of becoming a writer is to something I enjoy, and I cease enjoying this particular activity, what’s the sense of doing it, at least in the short term?

It’s hard to say.

Which makes it hard to write.

But I’ve noticed something here at the turn of the new year. I try not to make “resolutions” but I do try to make general improvements…then again, I do this year round. But January 1 is usually a time where I say to myself, “Write more.” (Duh.)

But it isn’t the New Year that’s motivated me to begin writing again this year. It’s not the thought of prestige or financial security or even just doing something I like.

No.

It’s the books I got for Christmas. One of each kind:

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Short Story collection

And I’m thoroughly enjoying all three. And each line, page, or chapter I enjoy makes me want to offer that same enjoyment in turn to others. It makes me want to write, whether I’m ever published or “successful”. Just for the challenge of doing it, the same way I enjoy playing video games or eating. The activity itself becomes satisfying again.

I’m reminded that I used to read hours every day, every night before bed, every morning at breakfast, every single break at work. And reading is what greased the wheels to make me want to write.

The problem is this:

I can’t find that many ¬†good books.

My dry spell writing towards the final months of 2009 directly correlates to a dry spell reading. I had tried the latest recommended authors and books and found them lacking, and become further unwilling to take up any new volume with each that dissatisfied me.

And I’ve reread everything in my personal library half a dozen times or more already, including some of the ones I don’t even like that much.

So this I beg you, fellow reader:

If you know a good author, recommend him/her to me in a hurry. Buy a book for me and put it in my hands — I’ll pay you cash on the spot for it if I have faith in your judgment. Because I never knew it before, but good books are fuel for my fire. Without them, I go up in smoke.

It’s already helping.

upwardgraphSome writers dread the blank page; not I.

I love the blank page. A whole world of possibilities awaits, and not one clumsy phrase yet clutters the concepts. Drafting the opening line of a story may well take me several hours, but it’s a process I enjoy.

For me, the challenge is the middle of a project. I find myself awash in a sea of words. The opening glow has been lost, and no fruits of my labor are in sight. Minor changes to the first paragraph can send ripples through the rest of the work causing untold grammatical or continuity errors until each is painstakingly fixed. I recently found a sentence in Perfect Justice that lacked gender agreement from the first half of the sentence to the next. That’s a pretty basic mistake, and I’m pretty sure one I’ve NEVER made in stream-of-consciousness writing. It occurred only because at some point, I changed the gender of a minor character, and failed to correct all the related pronouns.

Last night I wrote for about two hours, working on Woman’s Best Friend. Afterwards, I logged into the site and updated my wordcount.

Now when I look at it today, that progress bar has leaped forward. Before when I worked on a story, particularly the first draft, I got no sense of progress or accomplishment. Even now, I still don’t know how many drafts it will take before I submit for publication, and afterwards it’s anybody’s guess how many rejection slips it takes before publication. (And some stories may never see print.)

But the progress bar is something and it’s giving me a sense of achievement and more motivation to go back tonight. It’s made my progress quantifiable at a glance (if not qualifiable).

Quite likely 3,000 words will be too short for that story, but I wanted a very attainable goal for the first project undertaken along with the website. And it will make a good benchmark to try and stay within before going longer to make sure I’m no wordier than necessary.