Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Do We Write?

Why do we write? I asked myself that the other day as I tried to put together a compilation of short stories and realized that I wasn’t having any fun. It had become a painful chore. But it had become a chore because I was weary of reading, re-reading and editing the same pieces over and over again until I could repeat them verbatim in my sleep.

So off I went to find an activity that would temporarily wipe out the hard drive in my mind. Naturally, the first logical diversion is to take a walk. But you can easily walk and think. A half hour later, I found I was mentally crazy glued to the project worse than if I were actually sitting in front of my laptop and even more thoughts were now swirling through my head.

Later that afternoon, I convinced my husband that we needed to go the driving range and hit some golf balls. I can sheepishly admit that I was so distracted and performed so poorly that I considered selling my clubs to the first person who showed any interest in buying them.

So how did I lose my focus and why did I feel distraught?

It took me all day until I was able to face my dilemma and realize what the problem might be. I was past the pleasure phase. I wasn’t having any fun because I was past the creative part of the process. I was no longer able to escape into the lives of my characters. I was finished designing my settings, dreaming up plots, and crafting new ideas and situations.
Yes, I was into the dreaded, painful editing process consisting of all the menial chores like verifying facts, names and spelling; confirming continuity of the various plots; rechecking grammar; and making certain every story was set-up in the same uniform format.

A writer friend of mine said that now is time when you need little rewards and incentives to nudge yourself toward your final goal of producing a complete, clean manuscript.

Oh, please, tell me she was referring to chocolate, jewelry, shopping or a good bottle of wine.


  1. Oh, a reward sounds lovely. I'm facing the same situation as you. I'm editing my book that is to be released in March. I've been editing for over four months with my editor. And I'm tired. It's actually affecting book number 2 in the series. I want to kill off all my characters (I won't though. It's not their fault).

    Best of luck to you in your writing. I think I will set some awesome reward for myself to get me out of my slump.

    Great post.

  2. Thanks for the post, Angela. Good luck to you and good luck with your editing. Isn't editing tiresome? I've decided that I need to go cold turkey and take the entire weekend off and get away from the project. I hope that gives me a new attitude.