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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I write to be read.

thegraybook asks the burning question, which is, of course, "why do you write?"

I reposted my answer here, because what the hell....

Writing novels is a chore, I find. It's hard work. It's mentally exhausting work. I disagree to the bone and marrow with Orson Scott Card's politics, but I have to agree with him when he says that writing is a self-exhaustive act. Everything one puts on the paper, if one is honest in one's work, is squeezed out one's soul and intellect and creativity, refined to the purest form through hard work and concentration, and committed to paper--where it faces rejection, bad reviews, and remaindering. *g*

And the thing is, if I'm going to be good at it, there's no pretending that it doesn't really matter to me. There's no armor. There's no sang froid. There's no 'good enough,' and there's no 'off days.' I do it, and I do it to the absolute best of my ability, and if it's not good enough then it's just not good enough because I wasn't good enough.

I can't ever pretend I could do better. Because what's on the paper is my absolute level Sisyphean best. And there will, still, always, be people who hate it, no matter how hard I try.

So we armor ourselves with concepts like target audience and misunderstood geniushood, because those are the concepts that *can* defend us, somewhat.

And that's scary as hell. And it brings me up hard against my inner critic, and some days getting the words on paper is like squeezing blood from a collapsed vein.

But I do it anyway, because I gotta.

I managed to quit writing for three years once; I went back to it after I had one of those peak experiences they talk about where you realize that if you don't do it now, you may never get to do it.

I do it because it's in me, and I have stories to tell, and because I'm good at it and getting better.

And because it's how I define myself. I'm a writer. It's what I am.

...and then of course, because it is the best job in the world:

Why I Love Being A Writer, by Neil Gaiman


all I can say to that is, amen.

And I have to go back to pulling blood out of my forehead, now.
It's why I write. I write because I can't not.

Some are trivial things, tossed out in a stream of frenzied typing (thank God for typing, and computers, if I had to redraft manuscripts... yeeeah! I look at works like "On the Origin of Species" and I am agog with awe and wonder) some are a feats of endurance (I did a critique of Bias which was a weeks worth of honing, and still not really worth publishing).

On average a bit of real persuasion takes about an hour and half to write, and then I just want to collapse... worn out in body and mind.

It's why I write. I write because I can't not.

This pretty much says it for me, too. And it's one of the three things in life that I'm actually good at :)

What you said. It's difficult to sweat blood on the page (not to mention messy), but if you're not trying your damnedest, why bother? And after you do, if you're lucky enough to get published, all that effort can be so easily dismissed...*sigh* But writing in a vacuum doesn't make much sense to me, either.

I've tried giving it up--once for almost five years--but it only made me even more neurotic than I already am, so I'm on this drug for life it looks like.
Great entry -- "self-exhaustive" is a perfect way to describe writing, I think (and I can speak from experience on this, having spent about 14 hours yesterday, revising and tweaking my 460-page novel from start to finish!). You write and revise and keep coming back for more.

And you never completely learn all there is to learn. That's the beauty of it.

I enjoyed Gaiman's entry quite a bit! Always nice to see the Big Names get unstuck.
I do it because it's in me, and I have stories to tell, and because I'm good at it and getting better.

Eloquently said!
Yes, yes, yes and yes. I define myself as a writer. I write because I need to. I write because I have stories in my blood, and I mustneeds get them out. Yes to everything.
I write so that the lunatics in my head will shut up, because Malcolm writing my film reviews, Rose advising me on my love-life, D'Artagnan taking over the comments in my code, and all of them together nattering on when I am trying to get some sleep is a Bad Thing.

Mind you, I think I disagree with you about pretending I could do better; because it's eminently clear to me that the best I can do putting a given story on paper now may well be something I can visibly improve when I come back to it in six months, and acknowledging that degree of myopia's an essential part of my process; not that I am putting down things I know to be imperfect, but that my judgement of what I have just written is of its essence imperfect.
Well, sure--I hope I'll keep improving my skill level.

But that doesn't change the fact that what I'm putting out there now is my absolute best effort, and getting it handed back as inadequate is painful.