Thursday, February 21, 2008

Writing encouragement

Hemingway said -- Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.

Of course, things were a little different back then. Communication with other writers is a whole lot easier nowadays especially if you write any of the romance genres. Between national writing associations, local chapters and internet groups, there’s a wealth of experience to be shared and learned from. A writer no longer has to eat beans and live in a dusty, dark attic to be worthy of her craft. She no longer has to be lonely.

But I sometimes wonder if all this contact might not be detrimental to actually getting a book written. In today’s electronic age, it takes bare minutes to get online and check the email that fills our inboxes. Not that I’m willing to ignore my email (see Bernadette’s post from yesterday, lol) but it does take time and energy to scan through, read or simply delete. Time that would be better spent finishing a writing project or starting a new one.

For some of us, email can be detrimental. But, for others, it may just be the proverbial boon. How so? It can lead to a camaraderie, a feeling of belonging, with others who share the same passion to create with the written word and that’s no small thing. Non-writers just don’t get our compulsion to sit in front of a computer screen waiting for the exact right word to burst out from amongst all the other words clamoring for our attention. They don’t understand how elated we feel when we manage to work our way through a particularly difficult scene or the sense of accomplishment we get from finally, finally, understanding why our hero or heroine is balking at taking that next step in the plot we’ve so laboriously created.

I suspect most of the time they think we’re...crazy.

They might not be entirely wrong.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

We writers become inspired by snippets of dreams or movies or even books. We watch the leaves turn, flipping their bellies skyway in the wind and find ourselves diagramming a scene with an impending rain. We talk to our cats or dogs or birds and create characters that might not be very human. We hear voices. We weep when our characters weep, hurt when they hurt, grow enraged when they’re enraged.

But most of all, we write. Day in, day out, we write. Illness, personal problems, troubles with the day job may slow us down, may even throw us into a bout of writer’s block. But before long, we creep back to the keyboard and we write.

I’m going to leave you with two more quotes I found that just speak to today’s world of writing. I hope you find them as encouraging as I do.

Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences... They are the ones who keep writing. ~ Bonnie Friedman

You're not going to be a writer someday. You're a writer today. Discipline yourself to write and take time to enjoy writing. Do it a lot. Have fun with it. Begin now. ~ Jack Heffron

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Savanna Kougar said...

Wow! Beautifully expressed. I totally relate.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks, Savanna. I think for most of us writers, the post might seem pretty self-evident but there are a lot of newer writers out there who just might need a bit of encouragement (as we all do from time to time :D )

Skylar Masey said...

I loved the quotes Lynda! And you're so write about feeling the need to write :0) I'd have gone crazy without writing, eventhough it gives me one more thing I have to do during my hectic life at the moment. But there's something that scratches that itch when I'm racing away on the keyboard :0) And because I'm doing short peices I can fit in a bit here and there.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Skylar, do you ever use short pieces to help jumpstart your creative muse? For example, on the novel I'm currently working on, I hit a real slump (not precisely a writer's block) so I wrote a novella and it seemed to clear my head. Mind you, the novella and the novel are totally unrelated, not even sharing a genre :D But it served to get me back into the novel and the slump was gone.