Friday, July 1, 2011

Why You Should Write, Write, Write, and Keep on Writing

Trembling hands clutched at the letter, threatening to shred the paper to pieces. I steadied my shaking fingers, breaking through the envelope’s seal little by little, careful to keep the paper intact. I already knew that this moment would be the defining one of my young writing career, and I wanted to save it forever.

I had sent in a manuscript. It was 50 pages long, thick beyond imagining in my thirteen-year-old mind, and I had put my heart and soul into those pages. The novel was titled Canterlee, and it was of the fantasy genre, another one of those stories where the characters face epic battles and certain death, but everything turns out all right in the end. To my mind, it was perfect.

I had printed out several copies, which my Dad was only too happy to pay for, and mailed them out to publishers across the nation. And at last, I had a response.

Seal completely free, I inched the letter from its envelope.

This was a very traumatic moment for me in my young life. In fact, I could almost say that I had never experienced anything more torturous than that instant. I had put my whole heart into that little manuscript, and the word of one stranger could shatter my world.

I’m willing to bet that many of you have felt the same. You’re writers, if you read past the title of this post, and you have experienced that heart pounding, soul-searching act of writing.

And I’m not talking about writing high school research papers.

Writing is no piece of cake, pie, cookie or whatever sweet treat you happen to prefer. Writing is tough. If you’re one of those writers for whom everyday is absolute bliss, you wake up floating to the computer, and your fingers act of their own accord, then good for you! It’s not like that for most of us.

Most of us have to meticulously outline or otherwise search out our idea, draft and redraft, and painstakingly experiment for the perfect word or sentence structure. This is hard work, folks. Writing is definitely not a living or hobby for the faint of heart.

So why do we undergo this horrific and arduous task?

Writing is challenging and fun

Writing is hard, yes, but that’s all part of the fun (most of the time). We writers are all addicted to the thrill. It’s true! I am the first to admit it. We love the rush of our hearts beating fast as our character faces down their inner demons or the satisfaction we feel when our words are valued enough to be purchased. Writing is tough, but it sure is incredible.

Most of all, writing is fun. The activity gives us joy (most days, anyway). We work so hard to pound out those sentences, tearing out our hair all the while, because we love to see those words, our words, on the page. We love the creative act, getting down our thoughts and ideas and wondering how we can view the world differently. It’s amazing, how much fun writing can be.

Writing reaches out to others

Writing inspires us, as people, to be better. We want to inspire others! This is probably what got us into the game in the first place. We have these amazing ideas, bubbling and pushing to get out, some days they literally gush onto the page. We want to share these ideas, and we hope that they will enlighten and compel others. Writing can be an entire new world, community, or the innovation of a brand new way of thinking.

Writing is therapeutic

Writing can heal the author’s heart. It’s true! I’ve experienced this many times. Being primarily a fiction writer, I know the feeling of getting outside yourself and becoming lost in your character’s head. It can be very healing at times. Writing nonfiction or keeping a journal can also be very therapeutic, for letting things out on paper has much the same effect as venting to a good friend. The best part about this kind of writing is that it can help others, too, who are struggling with the very same things. Life is hard, but life is also joy, and writing can show us both of these.

Guess what?

The letter was a rejection.

To my thirteen-year-old brain, this was the end. The pail of water that doused the budding flame of a career. I was devastated.

But now I see that it wasn’t the end of the world. Things got better! I put away the letter, let out a little sigh, and got back to my day.

And although that manuscript was abandoned, my writing was not.

I write everyday. I write and write and write, even when it hurts.

I do this because I love writing, and I will never stop loving writing. During all this writing I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’ve created this blog to share that advice.

This is advice that will help you write more, write better, and get published.

Most importantly, however, this advice will give you the motivation and the tools to keep on writing, to always keep on writing.

To write for life.

What about you? Have you ever had a rejection or experience similar to mine? What about success stories? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

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