Writing is a Time Suck and Energy Drain – But I Love It
I have been tackling the sixth edit of Julia’s Secret Mission, book 2 of the Santa Keeper Series and it seems to be taking forever. This book is fast paced and emotional as it deals with a woman who wants to reconnect with the two children (now adults) she abandoned in order to pursue the man who killed her husband and father. The reason for the slow progress in editing is related to the level of emotion required in writing this particular book.
While writing is my joy it devours tons of energy and emotion. Only another writer can truly appreciate what is involved. In the 1946 book “Confessions of a Story Writer” Paul Gallico wrote:
“It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. If you do not believe in the characters or the story you are doing at that moment with all your mind, strength, and will, if you don’t feel joy and excitement while writing it, then you’re wasting good white paper, even if it sells, because there are other ways in which a writer can bring in the rent money besides writing bad or phony stories.”
As a reader I have raced through favorite books in a matter of hours eating up the nuggets of intrigue, romance, or mystery with the same pleasure I experience consuming dark, smooth chocolate or sharing long, hot kisses. When finished with that one I want the next one – now.
While that response from a reader may be flattering to a writer it is also irritating. Does the reader truly appreciate the effort, time, energy, emotion, struggle and vulnerability I have poured into my books? What do I want in return for my work? Why do I write, bleed onto the page, when it leaves me so exposed to possible criticism, ridicule, scorn or invasion of privacy?
Because I have no choice.
I have tried not to write. But I can’t do it. Stories and characters, plots and situations, settings, time frames and new worlds pop into my head constantly and demand to be heard. I carry a small notebook everywhere I go in order to capture the ideas before they escape to be replaced by new ones.
Couldn’t I just ignore them? If I did that what else is there to look forward to. Imagination is defined in Wikipedia as “the innate ability and process of inventing partial or complete personal realms within the mind. It has also been proposed that the whole of human cognition is based upon imagination.”
I write because I love it. Whether readers love it or not is their choice. Paul Gallico wanted to establish contact with his readers. I do too, because I have the desire to release the images in my mind and share them with my readers. This pouring out of my thoughts to someone else is a risk – like trying to establish new friendships. I might get lucky and find new friends or I might get rejected.