By Laura Drake
It sometimes seems that everything around us is negative: coworkers complain, kids whine, and don’t get me started on politics or the news. I think social media magnifies this. Hop onto Twitter and look right now – just look at the posts you can see without scrolling. We’ll wait.
You back? I’ll bet you found a liberal dose of complaints about everything from traffic, to weather, to rude people, right? Amping that is the latest trend to be snarky and deprecating. That’s okay, I guess – the pendulum swings to every point eventually.
If you follow a lot of writers, as I do, I’ll also bet that you also read people complaining about editing, submitting, and writing in general. ‘It’s so haaard!’
Well, I’m not here to be all holier than thou – I’ve done it too. I read a list of why you shouldn’t become a writer the other day (you can read it Here.) I couldn’t even argue with most of them.
Writing IS hard.
But. (You just knew there was going to be a ‘but,’ didn’t you?)
Yesterday I was writing and I had one of those rare moments – when you become aware of yourself and what you’re doing, from almost an omniscient point of view. When step outside your life and see yourself almost as others would see you.
There I was, creating something from nothing – playing with words, creating sentences that built to scenes that eventually become novels. I literally giggled. Is this not the best gig on the planet?
“Oh sure,” you say. “She sold. It’s easy for her to be content.” But I’m not talking about selling. I’m talking about loving the act of writing.
It took me a long time, but I finally bumbled my way onto what makes me happy, sixteen years ago. Nothing I’ve ever done has made me as joyous, as fulfilled, as complete, as creating one iridescently perfect sentence.
I’m not saying it flows out of my fingers. I’m not even saying it happens often.
But ah, when it does. You know the feeling. When you slave to capture an elusive complex emotion and you somehow manage write it fresh and new – that’s as close to heaven as I’m going to get on this earth.
I know, we all get wrapped up in the selling part. It’s the golden ring we all chase.
I live in Southern California, the land of the beautiful people. Home to 90210, the Housewives of Orange County, Hollywood. L.A., where money talks, and nobody walks. I see people every day who are trying to keep up to their neighborhood, conspicuously consuming themselves to bankruptcy. They buy into the illusion, and forget that money don’t buy you love. (wow, how many musical references can I fit in one paragraph?)
They’ve forgotten that the goal isn’t money – it’s to be HAPPY.
And the act of writing makes me happy.
I believe that if you don’t love that, you’ll never finish a book. If you do somehow struggle through one, it won’t be saleable.
Can we all just take just a moment out of the snarkiness, the whininess, the it’s-so-hardness, to rejoice in that?
I do love quotes. So I’ll leave you with a few pertinent ones:
If you don’t actually like to write, love to write, feel driven and compelled to write — then you’re probably better off abandoning your ambition in favor of a more legitimate career.” Tom Robbins
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen
“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”
“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.”
—Jim Tully, October 1923
“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”
—William Carlos Williams
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say ~Anais Nin
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
Romantic Times gave it 4 stars:
“A minor motorcycle accident leaves builder Samantha Crozier stranded in Widow’s Grove, Ca. While she recovers, she hires mechanic Nick Pinelli to fix her bike. But while recuperating in town, she finds the house of her dreams to buy and restore, and she realizes that Nick just might be the man to go along with it.
With realistic emotions and nicely depicted characters, this is a powerful story.”