Saturday, January 7, 2017

Is writing hard?

I'm sitting here by the fire watching the snow fall while reading a book I received for Christmas called IF YOU WANT TO WRITE: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Euland.

The description for the book online starts out like this: "For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition."

On Thursday, I actually had someone ask me, "Is it hard?"
"What?" I replied, wanting to make sure I understood exactly what she was asking.
"Writing a book. Is it hard?"

It's a complicated one, that question.

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
Sometimes the words flow, sometimes they don't.
Sometimes characters talk and talk and talk, sometimes they don't.
Sometimes your inner critic stays nice and quiet and sometimes she YELLS IN YOUR EAR.
Sometimes it doesn't matter that there is laundry to do and floors to mop while other times it is impossible to write a single word unless the house is spotless.
Sometimes social media isn't a distraction while most days it is impossible to stay off of it for longer than ten minutes.
Sometimes it is as joyful as walking through a field of tulips and sometimes it is as painful as going to the dentist to have a cavity filled.

So why do we do it if sometimes it is hard, or even painful? If sometimes the business side of publishing hurts so, so badly?

In IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, she speaks about a letter van Gogh wrote about the creative impulse.

"But the moment I read van Gogh's letter I knew what the creative impulse was. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way you try to show this beauty to others..."

Whenever I talk to kids in Skype visits or in-person school visits, I often get the question - why do you write? The desire to write comes from a place of love and enthusiasm, just as this author says. A love of stories. A love of books. A love of words. And a desire to share that love with the world.

Yes, sometimes writing is hard. But as the coach says in that wonderful film "A League of Their Own," that's what makes it great.

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