Novel Journey has a great (and rare) interview with Dean Koontz. He answers each question with care and attention; I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent several days on it. He says that he likes writing much more than having written.
Then I was reading Stewart’s post about journaling, and he mentioned that some people complained they didn’t want to write every day because it was too confining.
When I read that, I sort of went bug-eyed. I thought, are you kidding me? I can’t imagine a day without writing. I can’t imagine not wanting to write about everything, not wanting to put my thoughts into coherent paragraphs for this blog, not wanting to spill my whinings and complainings into a big dump file, not wanting to push forward with my latest story and see where it goes.
So in the comment section, I typed, "I love writing." I almost erased it. Well, you know, it sounds a little cheesy. DH had to practically pry the love word out of me when we were dating.
This love of writing wasn’t an instant-on thing. Sure, when I wrote that first story, I had a total crush on the process. I remember I couldn’t wait to play and toy with the words. It was so fun! I’d grin at the screen and play with a single sentence for an hour!
But then I had to finish that first novella, after my very first story won a tiny little contest and was turned into a first chapter. I’d write a chapter, send it off, it would be posted, and I’d get a check. This situation made for a lousy reading experience, but, at the time, it was the norm (e. had not boomed yet, and EC hadn’t been born).
Of course I totally wrote myself into a corner. I know I switched heroes halfway through. I got stuck. I couldn’t go back and change things, which meant I had a huge mess on my hands that I had to pull together anyway.
With a stack of how-to-write books beside me, I muddied through it. The first crush feelings were gone. It was work.
Then I wrote to understand humans, intimacy, my sexuality. The writing was secondary to my psychological journey. Writing itself became an up and down process where I would sometimes take weeks off, months off, until I missed it so much that writing and I would ’get back together’ again.
Through the grittiest, hardest part of learning the craft, money was my savior. I needed money, so I wrote. Without that, I would still be on the same novel, the same first chapter, fretting that it sucked. Even two years ago I took six whole months off to research (okay, I read voraciously but really got little writing done).
There are days when I wish I could just stay home, when I hate the fact that I can’t just sit around the house and play a game or watch TV. There are days where the prospect of writing makes my teeth grind--the exact same feeling I get on those days when DH just chews so gawddamned loudly, you know?
I’ve briefly considered, now and then, whether or not I liked writing. Mostly I just did it. I just obeyed the call of the keys.
Yesterday, though, was a bit of an epiphany. I love writing. I had no idea. I don’t know when it happened, exactly. The thought of going a day without writing is preposterous to me. Don’t tell DH, but when he wants us to go away for the weekend? My first thought is damn, I won’t be able to write. Isn’t that horrible?
But so often you hear writers say if you really love it, you’ll find the time to sit down and write. You should have the motivation, you should have that love.
That is so ass-backwards.
Sure, there is love at first sight, but even then, there’s a journey to a deeper love. There are times when you almost break up, when you do break up, when you get back together, when you just don’t feel like being around each other. And then one day, gradually, you look and "suddenly" realize you deeply love each other.
To those writers who struggle with guilt and motivation and all that nonsense? I’d say give it time. Give it years. Develop a respect for each other, let it deepen into friendship, and give writing the time for passion to take root and grow.
And put some effort into keeping the sparks alive. They’ll get you through the rough spots.
Just don’t expect a hello, nice to meet you, I love you--don’t blame yourself for it. Let the relationship play out--both work at it and enjoy it as it is, not as someone tells you it should be.
So. Do you love writing? When, how, and how long did it take to happen? When did you notice it? Or was it love at first sight?