How We Relate to Writing

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How We Relate to Writing

Postby Margo » 04 Feb 2011, 14:49

Recent discussions on the forum have touched on why someone should or shouldn't write, and I've noticed something I've found to be quite common. It's the idea that if you don't LOVE writing, if it doesn't make you happy , you shouldn't do it.

I disagree. Actually, to be more specific, I disagree that's true for me.

I have always remembered a story I heard about a successful writer who had to make his wife lock him in his study everyday to make him write. He would rattle the doorknob, beg to be let out, cry, curse, pretend to get sick, all to no avail. His wife has been instructed by the writer himself not to let him out until he had passed a certain number of pages of new writing under the door.

I'm not that bad, but I sympathize with this writer. I'm not a writer because it makes me euphoric. I don't spring out of bed everyday filled with the desire to get to the keyboard to start a new day's work on my WIP. In fact the act of getting me to write is a struggle in the way it's a struggle to get into a chilly swimming pool or the way it's a struggle to get a retired soldier back onto the battlefield he thought he's left for good. Hey, maybe I have writing PTSD!

I was in the midst of trying to explain my relationship to writing to a frinemy of mine when she interrupted to declare I should not be a writer. If you don't LOVE what you do, you shouldn't do it.

Wow, way to force her experience, her relationship to creativity, on me. The fact that I hate sitting down to write has nothing to do with whether or not I should write. If I don't write, like it or not, my mood declines and my irritability increases significantly. I don't write because it feels good. I write because it feels bad not to, because it is what I do and couldn't stop doing for all the money in the world, not for long anyway. (We recall that thread, don't we?)

So what I wanted to do with this thread is ask everyone to say something about their personal relationship to writing. If you write because you LOVE it, fair enough and I'd like to hear about it, but I'd love to know how many others out there write from another place.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Guardian » 04 Feb 2011, 15:54

Somedays I love to write, somedays... well, not really. It depends on the actual scene, part or the WIP. But basically I write, because I feel I must write. I also feel no one else would tell these stories. So it's my responsibility to tell them, otherwise they would disappear in the endless void.

I heard a lot that writing is an escaping from reality or a way to express yourself. I believe it's true, but it's also quite more. It's something what no one ever did before, because whenever you write something, it's unique. When you're working in an office, you know that few million people is doing the very same in that very moment. Drinking their coffee in front of their computer, praying to the clock to move the arms faster and they used to bore themselves to death as many of them hate what they're doing (In most cases). But as a writer, regardless there are six-seven billion people on the planet, and there are also thousands or millions of writers, you're the only one who is writing that actual WIP, no one else. One from six-seven billion. And this feels good. When someone is asking people what their work is all about, in most cases they're doing the very same day by day. But the writer is different. I can be a builder of a great, ancient temple or the cruel destroyer of an entire world. I can create life, build a river with stone bridges and fill the blue water with fishes. I can see birth, or I can be the witness of endless destruction. I can see heroic actions, drama and tragedy. I can travel between the stars or swim underwater with strange underwater creatures. It's never the same. I also love the challenge when I must figure out a solution for an exact situation. And the best, when I explored this world I can share my experience with others, to live the same adventure what I lived and experienced.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Falls Apart » 04 Feb 2011, 16:25

I think we all have different reasons for writing, the main three of which are . . .
1. You think writing is fun.
2. You love writing.
3. You want to get rich.
Numbers 1 and 2 sound similar, but they're actually very different. If I only write when the mood strikes me, it's unlikely to ever be anything more than a hobby. Which is fine. Same as, if I sit down at the piano every now and then to pick out a tune, I'll never be world-famous for it, but if it gives me enjoyment to do it, that's great. Loving writing is like loving a person; you'll continue to build a relationship with them even when they're being a pain.
Number 3 sounds awfully mercenary, but it's really not that bad. To some people, writing is a job, and nothing more than that. If they have talent and perserverence, though, they're just as likely to get published as number 2. Personally, I don't care about people's motivations when I'm reading their books; as long as it's good, it doesn't matter if they wrote it for laughs, for love, for money, or because an evil chipmunk was threatening them with a chainsaw. Good books are good books.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby mnaylor3 » 04 Feb 2011, 16:29

I have this cat that always meows at a closed door. She never stops meowing until that door is opened. It drives me nuts. So, I open the door. That's one way I think of why I write.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Margo » 04 Feb 2011, 16:37

Evil chainsaw-wielding chipmunks and unrelenting cats... This is even better than I'd hoped.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby polymath » 04 Feb 2011, 16:42

Reading and the painfully slow reading known as writing provide me with a tenuous connection to the society of humanity from which I feel I'm tragically alienated.
Spread the love of written word.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Margo » 04 Feb 2011, 16:45

polymath wrote:Reading and the painfully slow reading known as writing provide me with a tenuous connection to the society of humanity from which I feel I'm tragically alienated.


At least you aren't so alienated that you've started teaching evil chipmunks to wield chainsaws in an ebil plot to unleash them upon the unsuspecting cold cruel world.

I'm not even alienated and that sounds like fun to me.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby polymath » 04 Feb 2011, 17:00

If I had an evil bone in my body, the world would know what terrible truly is. It's a good thing no one and no agency have aggravated me to the point I'd feel compelled to act. Harmagheddon unleashed. The last time I felt like acting upon a slight, I said to the cosmos, Time wounds all heels. Time took care of it.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby dios4vida » 04 Feb 2011, 17:37

Let's see...when I really sit down and think about it, why do I write?

I love the creative process. I love fantasy, I have a very overactive imagination, and I really need an outlet. I love to make up stories about people and places and I love taking the journey with them. I get a sense of accomplishment and individuality that I can't get anywhere else. When I finish a book, the euphoria is better than just about anything on the market.

In short, I guess I would have to say that I love it. I hate the physical, day-to-day process of making myself sit at my computer and pour over yesterday's writings and outlines and trying to fix plot holes, but when I see that beautiful prose (written by my hand!) or read that awesome plot twist (that came from my brain!) it's all worth it. At the end of the day, there's nothing I'd rather do than write.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Aimée » 04 Feb 2011, 18:17

mnaylor3 wrote:I have this cat that always meows at a closed door. She never stops meowing until that door is opened. It drives me nuts. So, I open the door. That's one way I think of why I write.


I love this. So true.

The act of writing in itself is pretty boring, but the act of telling a story is exciting and exhilarating. Writing and storytelling seem to be two different things, at least to me, because the typing and the editing are soooooooo boring and stressful, but the ideas bouncing around and then reading and watching the story unfold is wonderful!

By the description, I think you love to write, you just don't know it. :)
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Dankrubis » 04 Feb 2011, 18:18

I've been thinking about this lately as well. I wouldn't say I love writing. I mean, I love it when I'm on a tear, as I'm sure anyone does, but that's, what, five percent of the time? Maybe less? The rest is forcing yourself to sit and write, which I kinda hate. Hell, I should be writing an article right now, but instead I've reintroduced myself to the good ol' Bransford forums. But if it wasn't this it'd be Huffington Post or cracked.com or something else.

Anyway, I liken writing to a bodily function. If I'm not writing in some form, whether it's a WIP or an email or a tweet, it creates a void. It feels like something's missing, and then a virtually imperceptible depression seeps in. It's all kinda strange, actually. But again, wouldn't say love. It's more like I'm forced to write if I want to be happy.

Man. How'd that happen? I'm starting to feel gypped. Go screw yourself, universe.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Cookie » 04 Feb 2011, 19:52

mnaylor3 wrote:I have this cat that always meows at a closed door. She never stops meowing until that door is opened. It drives me nuts. So, I open the door. That's one way I think of why I write.


Ha, my cats hate closed doors. I have one cat who would sit at the door and when someone came in, she would bolt out. She never went anywhere, she just wanted to be on the other side. But then you would have to chase her around the yard to get her back in.

Anyways, I do like writing but I don't like doing it everyday. Some days it can be like pulling teeth to get one word out. Others, the words are coming out so fast that I can't keep up. I write mainly because I have these ideas in my head and they will not leave me alone until they are on paper in a fleshed out story.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby J. T. SHEA » 04 Feb 2011, 21:09

The reluctant writer is like the reluctant mother. She doesn't have to fit the slap-happy stereotypes to get the job done well.

But now I have to stop writing, because it sounds like my evil chipmunk has just sawn my cat in half and is attacking the door.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Mike R » 04 Feb 2011, 21:45

I like the cat thing, it's almost right for me.

What I was thinking before I got to that post is that I have a tumor in the creative part of my brain that compels me to be creative.

I write, I've acted and directed plays, I woodwork, I've painted and sketched, made jewelry etc. Writing is the latest in a long line of things....hobbies....endeavors....compunctions....whatevers. Who gives a damn, I just do it.

Be nice if I got rich doing it though.
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Re: How We Relate to Writing

Postby Cookie » 05 Feb 2011, 07:41

J. T. SHEA wrote:The reluctant writer is like the reluctant mother. She doesn't have to fit the slap-happy stereotypes to get the job done well.

But now I have to stop writing, because it sounds like my evil chipmunk has just sawn my cat in half and is attacking the door.


Those evil chipmunks. I can't keep any sharp instruments in the house because of them. You should see me try to cut up a potato. It's really quite pathetic.
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