Musings on the Art of Writing

As a child, I discovered fantastic worlds created in books. When I began writing about the worlds of my own imagination, I realized how hard authors work to set their characters free to live for our enjoyment. This blog will explore that weird and wonderful process.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seven Pleasures of Writing

One question every non-writer asks when they learn what I do is, "Are you published?"

It used to bother me. Is being published the only justification for the hours I spend honing my writing skills and polishing my prose? Is it the only measure of success for a writer? No, because true writers don't write to publish; they write because they must.

When I was in elementary school, we had English Composition classes. I loved them as I could write my stories and get marks for them -- rewards for writing what I imagined. It wasn't work; it was fun. It still is. So, even though I earn next to nothing from my writing, I can't stop.

Both my children write well and I steal this idea of seven pleasure of writing from my son's blog, RunBikeNerd. He explores seven (a prime number that can't be divided) pleasures in his life and I thought I'd do the same, although to me, seven is more of a magic number.

My writing pleasures are (in no particular order):
  • seeing the first chapter of a novel emerge in my imagination
  • hearing my characters' voices for the first time
  • wrestling with descriptive words until they say what I see
  • the surprise twists in my plots that even I didn't predict
  • watching rapt faces at a reading
  • changing a passive verb to an active one
  • using the subjunctive so it doesn't sound weird
Perhaps every writer should pause and ask "Why do I write?". If you can list the seven pleasures (or more) you derive from the process, you don't need to justify the time you spend doing it. Being a writer is who you are, not what you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment