Saturday, January 06, 2007

The More Things Change...

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better. - Sydney J. Harris

I fell in love with this quote while reading my Taste For Life magazine and had to share it. Ain't it the truth?

We want to keep our job, we just want the schmucks we work with to go away.

We want our kids to stay small (don't you wish they would just STOP growing so fast?), but we want time to ourselves as well.

We'd love our puppy to stay a puppy forever, just to stop peeing on the carpet.

We'd like to have the body of our youth, and the wisdom of the ages.

Anyway...

That wasn't really what I'd planned to post on. I just really liked that quote and feel compelled to share it.

What I did want to talk about was joy in writing. Just a little, because what got me going about it was Brenda Coulter writing about Susan Hill writing about it. So it's clearly been well discussed. Being me, and being opinionated, I had to add my own two cents.

Susan (may I call you Susan?) found herself frustrated that so many aspiring authors don't seem to enjoy writing. She says that, if you don't, you shouldn't be writing.

Brenda (may I call you Brenda?) added:

...if you don't find it irresistibly challenging and deeply satisfying--in other words, fun--then maybe you weren't really cut out to be a writer.
I think "joy" and "fun" are really two different things, I understand what she's saying here. Both seem to indicate that there should be joy in your writing or you simply shouldn't write.

There are many times I don't have "joy" in writing. Times that I hate, Hate, HATE editing, don't like the story I'm writing because I have to push through a particularly tough part and just opening the document is agony. Times when I just don't think I have it in me to continue one more day.

But the truth of the matter is this: I can't NOT write. Even when I wasn't writing for potential publication, I wrote. I wrote poems, and short stories and in my journal. Even then, when the stress of publication wasn't hovering over my head, threatening to squash my heart and my ego, there were many times that I found no "joy" in what I did.

But I couldn't stop.

Writers write.

Now, there are certainly times when there is joy. When the words pour from my fingers like they were written in the stars, and I'm simply transcribing them. When my characters come to life and throw themselves and their story onto my page. When I laugh out loud at something unexpected that happens, or feel my heart squeeze when my hero says something particularly wonderful.

Those are the times that make the tough times worth it. But I can't count on them. I write because I must. Not because I find joy in it our because it makes me happy (I don't want you to think I'm miserable, I'm not... but more than "joy" I find challenge and stimulation in my writing).

Writers write.

That's the difference between a writer and someone who isn't (but who proclaims themselves to be). If I said I was a waitress, but never went to work at the restaurant, all I'd really be is a woman sitting at home.

Should there be joy in writing? Of course, some of the time. If there was NO joy, then there would be no purpose. But should I always love sitting at the computer? Should I smile just to think of starting my day? Not always.

Brenda says:

Maybe that little word "fun" bothers some writers because it appears to suggest this process is an easy one. Writing isn't easy--it requires vast quantities of patience plus unwavering concentration and some amazing organizational skills--in short, discipline.
That may be part of it in my brain... it is hard to be a good writer.

But it's not always fun. Sometimes it's boring, challenging, frustrating, annoying, and demoralizing.

But, if you can't NOT write, you're a writer at heart. If the stories buzz in your head until you put them down on paper, you're a writer. You don't need to cackle with glee while you do it.

In my opinion.

5 comments:

Allie Boniface said...

Great post - that prety much says it all!

Allie Boniface said...

Except apparently I can't spell this morning... that's supposed to be "pretty" much...

anno said...

yes, it spoke to me too!

Ceri said...

Wow, excellent stuff. I'm sorry I've missed dropping in for so long. I'm like you.... I can't NOT write. Otherwise I would've given up long before I even dared to submit anything for publication.

pqmta-please quiet Ma's tiger Al.

Tori Lennox said...

Well said! :)

vbnfqhvj - very big newts find quick, happy violet junebugs