Dorothy Parker once said,
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
This statement cracks me up. I think it would crack any writer up. Most of us are cracked anyway, so it’s no big deal.
When I first began writing, I had no idea what a soul-lashing, confidence-thrashing, oftentimes sadistic past-time it would become. Then, somewhere along the way, it became more than a simple pastime. It became an occupation. Something I did with the regularity of a part-time job…without the obvious benefit of a part-time job (ka-ching).
Even so, I keep at it. All of us writers do. Because as much as a roller-coaster the process can be, and as bitchy as the muse can sometimes get, something about it gets under our skin. It becomes impossible not to write. When we stop writing, our interior wells become stagnant. Eventually that stagnation eeks out of us in the form of grumpy, brooding, disagreeable behavior.
Most of us write because we genuinely love to write. We spend ungodly amounts of time, butt planted in a chair, hammering out words (half the time telling ourselves that it’s all rubbish, utter crap). We spend equal amounts of time reading other peoples words, reading about writing, re-writing what we’ve written based on what other people have written about writing. We’re obsessively in love with what we do. Sometimes the obsessive outweighs the love; sometimes it’s the other way around.
This makes us – or me, anyway – insanely overprotective of what we’ve written, sometimes seasoned with dashes of debilitating lack of confidence.
I’m nearing the place where I’m ready to have my WIP read by beta-readers. My dear, sweet friend Emily – who is always one of my biggest cheerleaders – will be reading it, once again. Bless her heart, she’s read so many versions of this story, she’s probably ready to change her name and head for the woods at the thought of doing it again. 🙂 I love her for her willingness. And I’m hoping to put a couple pairs of fresh eyes on it this time around, too.
But I’m nervous as all get-out.
Where are you at in the process of doing what you love? I know many of you writerly types get what I’m saying! And I can’t believe the concept is restricted to the writers in the crowd. I want to hear about the thing you’re doing right now – the project you’re in the middle of, the dream you’ve been toying with…what’s your process like? Relate with me, so I can feel better about feeling nervous. 🙂