August 14th, 2013

Writing and Lovin’ It

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.

Blowing SparkliesI’m also not here to blow happy sparklies up your backside.

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.”
—Enid Bagnold

“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.”
—George Orwell

“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.”
—Jules Renard

“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.”
—Mark Twain

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

HER ROAD HOME coverLaura’s latest release, Her Road Home, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through Harlequin.

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.”

33 comments to Writing and Lovin’ It

  • Fay

    Did you mean to use the word ‘depreciating’ in this post. Perhaps it should have been ‘deprecating’?

  • Exactly what I needed, right now. Thanks, Laura!

  • Thanks for the positive post! Tweeted and posted on FB.

  • Thank you, Laura. I loved this post! You brought us light and love and reminded us why we write. Big hug! I’m tweeting this one

    • Thanks Kathleen. After I wrote this, I had a massively bad writing day, but it helped to remember that they won’t all be like that. Saw on FB today: “On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%”

      True, no?

  • Barbara DeLong

    Very inspiring for me today as I struggle for that perfect sentence. Thanks, Laura!

  • Thanks Laura. This comes at a good time for me. After two years of being diverted from writing by life events, I had to sit down and have talk with myself–it’s on-going.

    Do I want to keep wriiting fiction? Do I want to write at all? S*i@ happens and it’s hit me on so many levels the past couple years that I’ve had to step back and re-evaluate what’s truly important. I sort of came down to earth during some recent research I was reading about Druids. They spent years memorizing their history because words were magical — they had power, and puting words on paper was forbidden because who wants to let others have power over you in any way, shape or form? Even giving others your real name gave that person power over you! It’s more true than ever before if you look at social media these days.

    Any way, I thought wow! I write. I have power and power is something I’ve had very little of for a long time. So I’ve decided to take some of my power back–by writing again. It’s a slow process that I’m working up to, but words are “my” power right now and I need some. 🙂 I’m good at this … I think. My being vibrates stories, words, ideas etc. What’s a woman to do? Write, I guess.

  • vlmbatman

    Way to go, Laura! But anything worthwhile doing is hard. Keep on.

  • I’m such a writing geek that your post makes me weepy! Thank you, Laura. Here’s to showing the “glint of light on broken glass.” It’s an honor.

  • Laura, this post is so timely for me! I’m too the point where I feel like throwing in the towel, but I know I can’t. It’s the writing itself, the act of creating stories out of nothing that keeps me going. And if I can’t make money from my books, I can at least earn some fun money by writing magazine stories, while waiting for that break that will allow me to live off book royalties. And I now have a big backlist when that break finally comes along. Each new book I write could be the breakout one. And I’m having so much fun writing them.

  • Nice post, Laura. We all need to hear this every so often. We all go through those dry spells of doubt about the value of what we’re doing. Make no mistake. Writing means making sacrifices. We have to balance what we’re giving up against those wonderful, joyful moments when our fingers fly over the keys as if they had a mind of their own and what appears on the screen is magical. It’s kind of like being a teacher. There is such much hard work, agony, frustration with teaching, but it’s all worthwhile when you see that one child’s eyes light up with understanding. Guess I thought of that analogy because its about time for all those in education to go back to school. While I don’t do that anymore, It’s a special time of hope.

    • I agree, Marsha. Every person has to decide if it’s worth it to them. For me, it’s a resounding YES! (but I’m glad you weren’t around to hear me whining, yesterday…)

  • Sherri Valentine

    Thanks, Laura! It’s nice to have the reminder – especially in the middle of that “final-final” edit. 🙂

  • Chiming in late today, Laura. You know I love a positive attitude and you have one of the strongest. Thanks for keeping the light shinning bright at the other end of the tunnel 🙂

  • […] Laura Drake shared her #1 Reason To Keep Writing over at Writers In The Storm yesterday. Great […]

  • Loved the quotes (stolen some already for sharing with friends on Facebook!) and a really nice pick-me-up post for this flagging writer – thanks 🙂

  • Inspiring post, Laura! Lately I’ve been wondering why I continue to beat my head against a stone wall, figuratively speaking. I mean, I sell every month on Amazon and B&N, but the numbers are far from great. Why bother? Yet, I’m driven to keep writing. I literally CANNOT give up. You’ve just reminded me why: I love to write! Thanks!

  • Wonderful post, Laura, and it couldn’t be more timely. I’m struggling to get back into a book I love, and it’s hard. And thanks for the positive spin on my simple truth: when I don’t write, I’m a bitch from hell. Cheers!

  • kckleinbooks

    Beautiful. Thanks for the amazing post. I am going to copy some of those quotes and hang them in my office.

  • sjmn60

    Laura, since I first started putting (virtual) pen to paper 8 years ago, I haven’t stopped, and now, I can’t imagine not writing. If something happened that I couldn’t write anymore, I think I’d go a little mad, and I’m at my happiest when I’m bringing a story to life (and yes, even when I’m moaning and complaining about the rewrites and edits).
    I really love William Wordsworth’s quote. It says it all.
    Great post.

  • Great post, Laura! I’m with you, I’ve never had so much fun as when I’m writing. I even like the editing process.

  • Elaine Karpierz

    You have inspired me to write that book Now if I could only remember if it was about a dog that could talk or a cat that could talk..oh yeah, the dog.
    Damn girlfriend you could inspire anyone to write….love you.

  • I agree we need more positive words, an good on you for giving them. Adding the Chekov quote to my Quotes page. So beautiful – I might just tweet it too!

  • I love writing. Nothing makes me happier than when I start giggling while I’m writing a scene. Tweeted.