Secrets of a Writer 2
From August 24, 2011
It would be awesome to say that writing is all flowing energy with fairies and bunnies whispering inspiration and muse into my ear in melodic chants of enlightenment and success, but that might be taking it a little too far. The truth is this post's revelation that, although it is my most favorite past time,... Writing is Hard! Okay, so I'm not bringing this up to inspire sympathy or pity from you (oh, you poor, poor writer! Quick someone put it down before it suffers any further!). Quite the contrary. The difficulty in writing is one of the joys of the task. I'm rediscovering this as I'm working on EiA3 (untitled third book). There are so many plot ideas and possibilities floating around in my head, but then I have to organize them and put pen to paper in a way that makes them work as a cohesive story. There are few moments in my day when I'm not somehow thinking about my novel and in truth it's almost obsessive. But, even though I enjoy it, writing is indeed difficult. Ernest Hemingway once said
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
I enjoy his sarcasm, but he's right. When I was working on my last project The Last Day (which has been put on hold), I had to relive a traumatic experience in order to put it all on paper. It made for great writing, but the toll it took on me was like opening an old wound. Beyond that, I've had to have a few glasses of wine to stomach writing some of the scenes I've produced (Read the chapter "A Far Cry from Salvation" in Eyes in Atlantis). I've had to do the same for some of the dramatic/highly emotional scenes as well. I don't just write the scenes, I go through the emotions and experiences as if I were there (empathy is a writer's greatest tool). My last example of this will be seen in The Deluge, when I have four main characters relive every single moment of turmoil from their lives. For the record, four people who are 28-35 years old have been through a lot of hell. Even when I was done, I had to go back and revise those scenes.
Aside from story and scene development, it's hard to even keep up with. It's so easy to fall into patterns of not writing, that it is hard to pull out the pen and continue. There were times during the creation of both my novels where I didn't even touch it for a month at a time. I've mentioned before that writing a novel can be such a large project that the sheer size of it can make me not want to do it.
Thankfully there's always the story and the characters that bring me back to it. Funny as it may seem, I'm very attached to my characters. So much so that they're part of the reason I'm carrying on the series with EiA3. After a year of not writing them, I actually missed them. What are they up to now? What's new in their lives? I had to check in. I also have a lecture that keep coming back to the page by Elizabeth Gilbert on Creative Genius that always throws me back into the fold. I've embedded it below (though I've posted it a few times before). I write not because it's easy or hard, or because I'm trying to prove something (even though I might be), but because it is my passion, and in this life it is my job. The greatest feeling in the world for me is to read over something I wrote and be in awe of the fact that I produced it. So I carry on...
Until next time,