Saturday, April 19, 2008
Recently, I spent a little time reading excerpts from other writers' work which was posted online. This included both published and unpublished authors and works, ranging from nanovels to published books. It was very interesting. I found a link to a nanoer who has several excerpts of nanovels written over the past handful of years and I was quite impressed with how his work has evolved. His most recent novel reads quite well, and I found that it inspired me. I also found a small publisher of gay and lesbian fiction. Their site includes sample chapters and several of the excerpts I read there also inspired me.
I think what really moved me in all this was seeing how others are realizing their dream, and even with all the imperfections which I could find in the various texts, they had their own rhythm, their own flavor, their own excitement about them. The writers each had a vision, and they found a way to express that vision, and to get the job done. Since I've been in editing mode, it seems all I see are the imperfections. No work is ever "perfect". If getting started is half the battle, the other half is finishing what you set out to accomplish, warts and all. Readers won't notice the minor blemishes nearly as much as we do.
With all the stress in my life over the past few months, which has exceeded all the stress over the past few years put together, I have been very distracted and emotionally focused elsewhere. Reading these texts has reminded me of why I write: the JOI D'ECRIRE (joy of writing). I have never been one to believe in driving myself in die-hard fashion through thick and thin, writing seven days a week no matter what. I have always found when I sit down to write and have nothing to say, that whatever I write is ultimately garbage and ends up in the appropriate receptacle. For me, writing is a joy, and it should remain so. If I cannot find that joy, then I should not write. After all, in spite of the joy and the pleasure, writing is hard work, and why would anyone put themselves through that if they did not enjoy it? There are other, surer and easier ways to make a living.
I am seeking now to rekindle that joy, that excitement about stories, that spark. It is only through that joy that I would ever want to write. Writing has not become drudgery to me, but pushing on to complete a project without a sense of the joy of it cannot by definition lead to good writing, at least in my opinion, and, from what I have seen, in my work. Writing is not combat, fighting against the enemy (blank pages) with a winner-takes-all mentality. It is magic, an expression of love -- love of story, love of discovery, love of characters and places and times and events and the hope, which the Reader will share, that maybe somehow things will work out okay in the end.
A little humor helps.
Wishing each of us the joy in our writing which we require and our Readers deserve,