Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ode to Writing

The first day of each semester, I always ask my Creative Writing students a question: What does writing "do" for you? How does it serve you?

Occasionally, I get so caught up in the Great Agent Quest that I'm distracted away from WHY I love to write in the first place.

So, this morning, I thought about it. About the paradoxes of the writing life. How it's both pleasure and pain, joy and frustration, peace and discomfort. It's hardly ever all one or the other, all good or all bad. (Much like life, itself, eh?)

I love being a writer. Entering new worlds and creating characters out of thin air. I love the control of it - how it's "my" universe and I can do whatever I want in it: make characters fall in love, or shatter their world with a great loss. In doing so, I learn a little more about myself, about human nature. At its core, I think, writing is a bit selfish in nature - I'm exploring how I feel about things, about the world, through my own characters, and hoping that readers, someday, might read my words and do the same.

And, as any writer knows, the joys of writing are balanced out by the hard work that comes attached to it - the brainstorming and planning, the eking out time in a busy work schedule, the planting our seats in our seats when we don't feel like writing, the editing and trimming and tweaking after we think we already have a solid product. It's not easy, that's for sure - but it's necessary.

And, it's the kind of work I love. Nothing is more rewarding than finishing a paragraph or a chapter (or a novel!) and feeling satisfied with it - knowing that I gave it my all, heart and soul, and it's there now, on the page. A little piece of me.


  1. I tried it, but I'm not too sure about the results. P.G. Wodehouse, Margaret Atwood, Jack London, Harry Harrison and James Joyce. I've never heard of a couple of them. Never read a few. But James Joyce? Ick!

  2. lol - it gave me Stephen King 4 times in a row, then Margaret Atwood, then Charles Dickens. The link at GalleyCat said that Margaret Atwood tweeted about it yesterday, saying she gave it a try, and the software said she didn't even write like...herself! LOL!

    Still, just a fun little timewaster....

  3. Hey! What are we doing commenting on this post? Did I mess up and leave my comment in the wrong spot?

  4. LOL, Matt! I just noticed that. No biggie. It'll keep people on their toes. lol