All writing starts out as a seed, a breath. Only with nurturing can that seed bloom. Some writers are unable or unmotivated to become stronger after the initial burst of growth. They bury the stories that are little more than that first layer of imagination. An onion-skin of creativity.
But that is how we all begin, with an onion-skin, a membrane too fragile to root on its own.
There aren’t many of us who go back and sow the seed again. Quite a large percentage give up. Reasons vary, like forces of nature that destroy anything in the way.
-The work was too difficult.
-We can’t take criticism.
-We have shaky self-discipline.
-We don’t know how to become better.
-We’re tired, maybe even bored with the story, and we just want to dig it out of our lives.
-We let well-meaning friends read it too soon, or we query too soon.
-Our determination crumbles, our passion dwindles, our dream fades.
Suddenly, writing isn’t as much fun as we thought it would be.
Then there are those of us whose calling it is to be a writer. We square our shoulders, grudgingly pick up our tools, and return to our struggling creations.
We prune the growth, dig up the root ball and transplant it. Hopefully this time, we’ll be able to offer more wisdom, more skill, more vulnerability, more ferocity. Hopefully this time, the magic will spark.
We complete it, but we’re not finished. We likely love it more, but something is not quite right. The ending is rushed. The antagonist is one-dimensional. The setting doesn’t fill the senses. Too many words. One problem or a web of problems, whatever it may be.
We invested a huge chunk of time and made sacrifices by this point. But the magic didn’t spark.
I have reached this fork in the road at least half a dozen times with my books. Do I stow my tools? Do I roll up my sleeves and dig again? And even if I do try again, I could be right back here in this predicament again. There is NO guarantee that my words will inspire anyone. NO guarantee that I’ll be successful. NO guarantee that I can instill hope in a single reader.
NO guarantee that I have made the right choice.
As much as I may have sweated, ached, battled, cried, confronted daunting obstacles, and even quit—I eventually rolled up my sleeves, re-strategized, and dug around for a stronger story. Sometimes that meant asking for help from other writers who know more than I do. Sometimes that meant starting completely over. Sometimes that meant working on a different project.
I kept trying even though it hurts, literally, to find another way toward my writing goal.
Writing is one of the most difficult pursuits I have ever undertaken. Like motherhood, writerhood has its ups and downs, its surprises and disappointments and triumphs. Even though I never know from one day to the next what is in store for me, I meet the challenges head-on, with all the determination and ferocity I can muster. ‘Cuz if I don’t—I will be taken down, flat on my back, seeing stars, and unsure how to get back up again.
With all that, what in the hellula is there to love about writing?
I live in my imagination, and that is where I am most at home. Nothing against the real world, but I have to say—when I have the chance to write, I’m there. I can’t resist the magical lure of another realm and its characters, who, to me, are like real people with real conflicts that need resolution.
Their stories need to be told, and they came to me for that.
My family complains that I’m hard of hearing because they’ll try to talk to me when I’m doing dishes or another rote household chore, and I won’t respond.
Honey, I say, it’s not that I don’t hear you. You’re simply not in the same world as I am.
Truth, I am that absorbed and immersed and wrapped up in the action that is taking place in my head—which, often, is much more interesting than anything going in the real world.
I feel blessed that I am able to conjure ideas and craft them into stories. Many people say they want to write a book, but I get to say that I do write books, that I get to spend my time looking for hidden treasure, rescuing lost hikers, tracking down a murderer, mingling with pirates, and other exciting adventures.
While I’m anxious to bring my stories into the world, to share them with readers, what is more important to me is that I do it for the right reasons. I respect the art of writing too much to simply pen it and publish it. I believe that my people, the ones who live in my imagination, deserve my patience, care, and intensity.
I take my calling very seriously, and that’s probably why I put up with a lot of heartache. Luckily, I’m caught up more by what I absolutely love about writing—that it’s a portal to a realm I can share with others.
What do you love about writing?
Have a writery day!