People write for many different reasons. Some people write for the love of it. Some people write because characters chase them around begging to be written. And others write thinking it might bring them fame and fortune like J.K. Rowling (though I suspect most of those people that write merely for this reason probably aren’t reading this blog).
I wish I could be the writer that writes for love. And loves every second of the writing process, from beginning to end.
But I’m not.
And instead of getting mad about it, I’ve come to accept it.
Because writing for me is exactly like my view on exercise.
Which is very much a love/hate relationship.
I’m more the writer that writes because I have to. If I don’t, I’d never get any sleep or get anything accomplished with all these stories and thoughts in my head. Writing is something I have to do. Just like exercise…
I know I need to do to function, but at the same time the mere thought of it most days doesn’t excite me at all. And you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to the treadmill, because I simply don’t want to do it or even think about it.
Then when I force myself to sit in front of the computer or get on the treadmill because I’m feeling sluggish and feel I’ll bust if I don’t get any exercise, instantly, I feel better. My mind starts to switch, thinking this isn’t so bad. And wondering why on earth I have such ill feelings towards exercise, since it’s actually quite fun and relaxing and almost enjoyable.
Then when the treadmill program gets a mind of its own and makes you go up hill after hill and it gets hard and becomes more work than fun, I’m instantly reminded why I don’t like to exercise. But I push and challenge myself forward, because I must. And the satisfaction of doing so is so great that I can’t believe I ever had bad feelings towards exercise at all. I can’t wait to do this again, to get this amazing feeling.
And the cycle continues as soon as I leave the gym.
Some days it’s worse than others and others it’s not so bad. But always it feels like it’s going to be the worst thing in the world and it never turns out being as bad as I imagine.
I’m not quite sure why this happens, or if I’m alone in my delusional exercise/writing thoughts. Or even if there’s a cure for this. But what I do know is that for me, I’ve done some things in the past that have helped make this process slightly less horrible to think about.
Such as exercising with friends. Or doing sports, which to me feel much less like exercise than, say running. Or the time I joined the gym and went religiously every day in the afternoon merely because Newlyweds was on the TV and I didn’t have cable at home. (Hey don’t judge. While it might not be conventional it was the best motivational tool I could find, and it worked.) Getting it not only into my schedule, but giving me something to enjoy going to every day.
With writing I do the same thing. Such as finding a writing friend to share the journey with. Writing in a genre and writing characters that get me the most excited. Or doing things out of the ordinary to keep me writing every day. One excellent piece of advice I was told was that you should stop writing for the day in the middle of a scene, because you are more likely to want to return to it the next day to finish it. And once you are working, it’s easier to keep working. This really works for me. Other people give themselves word count or page count goals to reach every day, feeling the sense of accomplishment that propels them forward and makes it more satisfying.
Whatever you do, I think it works to grab onto something to make the work and exercise just that much more fun. It gets you through the challenging aspects of writing and the loathing of it, for those of us that seem to face that more than others. And it makes it easier to get back at it every day.
--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent