Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall in love again

Yea! It's Work in Progress Wednesday. Which means you all get a peek into the strange and twisted pathways of my brain. (You lucky readers, you.)

I almost have a PLAN put together (see post a few days ago on my first attempt to make a PLAN) and the structure of my WIP is coming along as well. I think the goal of 6.5 pages a day is, unfortunately, unrealistic so I will have to adjust my date for finishing the rough draft.

But what I really want to talk about today is the importance of falling in love.

*Cartoon is from Chris Madden and you can find it here.

I'm assuming that those of you who are writers decided to pursue your dream because at some point you fell in love with the printed word. Maybe it was a certain book or author that made you fall in love, or maybe it was when you realized that you could share the stories and characters in your head. Or maybe, like me, you have always loved reading for as long as you can remember.

You decide to write because it's part of who you are as much as your hair color, even if you sometimes try to dye it. You carve out time to write in the middle of all life throws at you, usually sacrificing time that could be spent doing other things. You work hard to put your stories and thoughts down, and somewhere along the way your characters and stories start taking on Terrible Two tendencies. They get rebellious, difficult, and alternate between just sitting there and pouting and running away from you screaming and shedding clothes as you're trying to head out the door for an appointment.

You think, I have to write today, but you stare at the screen, convinced that everything you've written so far is drivel. You read more writing books and blogs, get a little motivated, and get moving again. And the cycle repeats itself. And when you finish your masterpiece, you submit it to an editor or agent, and you wait. Or you get rejected and move on to the next submission. Repeat.

Somewhere along the way it changes. It's not *fun* anymore. You move from the Tunnel of Love to the Sea of Tedium. We all languish in the Sea of Tedium doldrums from time to time. It's part of life. And just like you have to work at staying in love in a marriage, sometimes you have to fall in love with writing again.

For me, that often involves reading. Not books on craft, or improving my writing, or a book to review and critique, or to analyze story structure or characterization or what I can take from it, but reading just for fun. Just to get sucked into a story so much that I sneak into the bathroom to get in a few more pages and actually dream about it because it's on my mind so much.

I remember the high that comes when someone else reads my words and likes and appreciates them. I remember why I love my characters who become a small part of me. I remember how much I love when I get into the zone and things just flow. I remember how writing and reading completes me. I remember why I LOVE what I'm doing. And I fall in love again.

We all have to do it, and I think it applies to more in life than just writing.

What about you? What do you do to get through the Sea of Tedium?


ElanaJ said...

I think I've been stuck in the Sea for a while. I've lost my oars. There is a gusting wind. So yeah. I read. I vent to friends. I try doggie paddling for a while. Eventually, it passes. Usually when I get a request. ;-)

Don said...

So far I've been fortunate not to get too far lost in the Sea of Tedium. When I do start to drift, I usually just let life take over for a little while. It isn't long before I miss the writing and can't wait to get back to it.

Public accountability helps a lot, too, as it gives me an added incentive to write SOMETHING.

Jenn Johansson said...

I read too. I love reading. I feel like I improve my skill with nearly every book I read. There are so many good ones out there too! :) it makes me happy

Lady Glamis said...

What a great way to put it! I ran into this problem with my current WIP awhile ago. I likened it to wanting a divorce, and it took me awhile to come to the realization that when I feel that way, it's most likely a good thing because I really am passionate about it!

The Divorce