Uncategorized

What makes a writer write, when writing is such hard work?

It’s June, which means the sun is out, my roses are in bloom – and it’s time for another of our authors’ Round Robins…

round robin, helena fairfax, romance editor

This month the topic is:

Why do you write or feel compelled to write, even through the difficult parts?
helena fairfax, writer, editor
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

This is such a great question. A while ago, when I was in a writers’ group, I brought part of my work in progress with me to read out, in order to get a fresh eye on it. I had been stuck on a scene for a while – writing and rewriting – and I was hoping for some advice. I can’t remember now which scene it was, but I remember telling the group that writing this chapter had been, ‘a real slog’.

One of the group turned to me in surprise and said, ‘Then why do you do it?’

I remember being equally surprised at the question. It was something I’d never thought to ask myself before. I just accepted that writing would be hard work, and I carried on writing, regardless. What made me different from Tom, the writer who asked the question? Why did Tom never find writing a slog? One reason might be that Tom writes for fun and as a hobby, and when he’s bored of something he’s writing, he puts it to one side and starts a new piece.

helena fairfax, writer, editorSo why do I keep going when the writing gets difficult? There was a time when I would do the same as Tom. I would start writing a story, and I didn’t really know where it was going, so I stopped mid-way and started something else. I’ve written before about how joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme was a tremendous inspiration to me, and how it was through the RNA that I finished my first novel, The Silk Romance. Being a part of this scheme involved submitting a finished book. I was determined to do it and not to let the year be a waste, and so I wrote and wrote, even through the difficult parts, until I could write The End. It was tremendously satisfying to finish a whole book – and I still remember the euphoria of discovering it was going to be published!

But getting to the end and seeing my book in print isn’t my main motivation for carrying on through all the frustration and the headaches and sheer graft of wrestling with words until you get them to say what you want. Before I start writing a new book, I have a story in my mind that I want to tell. I have characters that feel real to me, and I want to make them real to other people. In a funny way, I feel that if I don’t finish the book, I will be letting my characters down by not telling their story. I have to keep on going, because now I owe it to my characters to bring them alive.

Creating anything worthwhile involves hard work. I mentioned at the start of this article that my roses are in helena farifax, writer, editorbloom. My back yard was just rubble and rocks when we moved into our house. It took a lot of hard work to get it to look like this, and my garden is still an ongoing process. I feel about my garden as I feel about my writing. I have a vision of how I want it to be, and I keep on grafting in pursuit of that vision. Neither my garden nor my writing ever turns out exactly how I want it to be, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping on trying!

I’m very curious to know what the other authors in our Round Robin will say about their own writing, and why they keep going even when most other people would give up. If you’d like to check out their posts, please click on the links below.

* * *

If you’re a writer, what is it that compels you to write, when others would give up? If you are creative in any other way – be it gardening, painting, needlework, or whatever – what is it that makes you want to create, no matter what the difficulty?

If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1gQ
Marie Laval http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Aimee) A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “What makes a writer write, when writing is such hard work?

  1. As writers we are continually learning, about the craft, ourselves, our characters and different times and places. I like that – and it keeps me going, always planning my next book. I research in the summer months and write in the autumn and winter, so it has become a cycle in tune with the seasons. There are times when it feels a bit daunting but then I’m immersed in a and can hardly type fast enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tony, I love the idea of writing in tune with the seasons. I work much better if I have a deadline and a schedule, and knowing the book has to be written over winter would really help me focus. And I also love that feeling of being so immersed you can’t wait to get the words down.
      Thanks very much for dropping in, and for your great comment!

      Like

  2. I don’t have to write for a living and the longest thing I have to write these days is a book review or sometimes a shopping list. The motivation can be hard to find to do either of those as well so I can’t imagine where you find yours – other than, like you say, you have a story to tell and if you don’t do it, no one else will!
    #TalkoftheTown

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lindsay, you’ve made me wonder now if I’d like to have someone bring my stories alive, or if I’d prefer to do all the hard slog myself. I think I’d much prefer to write them myself, even though it’s such hard work. Nothing can beat the feeling of having written The End, and that would be taken away if someone else did the writing! Plus, the story would no longer feel like my own.
      Thanks for your thought-provoking comment – and thank you so much for sharing on #TalkoftheTown!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband reads everything as I write it, so he is a great help in keeping me moving forward with a story, even when things are difficult. He sort of pinches me and asks where the next chapter is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to have someone to motivate you like that, AJ. A couple of friends and I email each other with our “targets” at the beginning of each month. I find this helps, too, as I have no excuse for not sticking to my targets! It also helps me see how far I’ve come at the end of the month. Sometimes I feel I’ve accomplished nothing, where in fact I haven’t done too badly.
      It’s brilliant that your husband takes such an interest. That sort of support can make such a big difference to a writing career.
      Thanks for your great comment!

      Like

  4. I think there’s something I’m trying to understand when I write and I’ll likely keep writing (or keep coming back in some way to a piece of writing) until I have some clarity or breakthrough on an issue. I write because I must; it is what draws me in and is how I process life. I write, also, because like challenging myself to try new things within the form/s and also pushing against the boundaries of form. And like you, out of a desire to not leave my characters suspended in some weird kind of limbo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that your writing is how you process life, Joanne. I can totally understand that one. Working on a story has certainly helped me process elements of my own life. And there are so many writers I know who say they feel impelled to write. I think I would always be writing, even if no one ever read a word I wrote.
      Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I garden, too, extensively, but I’d never made that connection between writing and my garden although I also blog about gardening. You are right, they are very similar when it comes to difficulties. I’m always thinking of how to make my garden better, just as I do with my writing, despite the many difficulties.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love that connection of hard work necessary to produce a beautiful garden and a wonderful story. I never thought about letting my characters down by not finishing the story!! I write because I want to entertain and inform folks through my stories and articles. I especially enjoy when readers said they smiled or laughed when reading one of my stories. Bringing joy to someone is satisfying. Keep writing!! And producing those beautiful roses!!!
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi JQ, I really love it too when readers say they felt uplifted by one of my stories. It’s a great feeling and makes me forget all the hard times putting the book together! Hope you keep writing, too, JQ – and keep on producing your own beautiful garden!!

      Like

  7. That surely was a moment for introspection when Tom asked why – I’ve never stopped to ask myself that question either. I write because I enjoy the process, but because nothing in life that is worth while is without moments that are hard, why should writing a book be any different?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true about everything worth while having moments that are hard, Skye – writing a good book, climbing a mountain, painting a great portrait. People work through the hardships because they feel impelled to do it, and because the personal satisfaction is so great. Thanks for dropping in!

      Like

  8. I love the photos of your garden and your roses. And what a wonderful analogy! Writing and gardening,creating beauty, peace and happiness from a bare patch of land, with a lot of love, hard work but always with the vision of what it could be – what it will be – at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true about the vision, Marie. I have a vision of how I want my book to turn out when I first start writing it, and I have a vision of how I want my garden to look. Neither of them ever match my vision, but I keep trying! :) Thanks for dropping in!

      Like

  9. I’m wondering if it’s a bit like reflecting in a journal … if you give yourself time, the gems are revealed :)

    Love your analogy between gardening and writing Helena.
    #TalkoftheTown

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does take time for my ideas to evolve, Shaz, that’s true! It takes peace and quiet and reflection – something hard to find in these days of instant messaging and busyness. Thanks for your great comment, and thanks very much for sharing!

      Like

  10. Hi Helena, I do so admire people who can get things finished before moving on. My big failing is that once I’ve worked out the pattern, be it knitting or plot, then I do need a lot of prodding to finish: almost as if I only wanted to satisfy my curiosity. However, the good news is that writing synopsis for PF serials is introducing a welcome discipline and maybe my creative garden will be a lot more colourful soon. anne stenhouse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Anne, I know just that feeling of needing prodding to finish. Working out the details of a story, for me, is the exciting part. I love that bit. It’s like completing a puzzle. The hard part is writing it all out in a way that readers will find equally exciting and accessible. I imagine writing for the People’s Friend involves an incredible amount of discipline and professionalism. Wishing you all the best with it.
      Thanks very much for dropping in!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Vicki! As I was writing this post, I suddenly realised how I was never satisfied with either my garden or my writing. Neither of them will ever be perfect, but I keep on trying…
      Thanks very much for dropping in!

      Like

  11. I’ve been working on my WIP for the past 2-3 years. Some of this has to do with the amount of research it takes, but, also, it hasn’t been an easy writing process. However, there’s a part of me that won’t give up and insists I finish it. I wish I wrote quicker than I do, but, at the moment, I don’t. My goal is to have it published by Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to write faster too, wildchild. I try, but I find if I write quickly, I’m very dissatisfied with what I write and then I start losing confidence in myself and my book. Writing is very hard work, and only a small percentage of writers who start writing a book ever finish it. Congratulations on embarking on your book and wishing you all the best with publication!

      Like

  12. It’s an interesting question! I’m taking a deliberate break from writing fiction at the moment, having just brought out my second book, and am finding that the ideas keep bubbling up. And yet I know that once I do start writing I will inevitably run into difficult patches; but once I’ve got enough down there’s a reluctance to leave the job half done. The problems become more like puzzles, and puzzles are there to be solved!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand about the reluctance to leave a job half done, Kathleen. When I very first started writing, I abandoned manuscripts after starting them. Now I look back on it, I understand why. There was no focus either to the story or the characters – they were just a jumble of ideas. I like your comparison with a puzzle. Sorting out the jumble is a puzzle I’ve got much better at.
      Congratulations on your new release – and best wishes with the new ideas!

      Like

  13. I think you can compare writing a book to raising children also. Once it’s published and “out there,” critics may or may not like it…readers may ignore it. And all of that makes me, as the author, feel like it’s all my fault! If only I’d written a better story. If only I had more time to do promotions. If only! But still the stories present themselves and I’m their only conduit for being born. So I force myself to my laptop and I write. I feel foolish sometimes, when people assume I make huge royalties. Nope…not yet…maybe not ever. But still, the stories need to be told.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve discovered that carrying on even when you feel foolish – or when others make you feel foolish – is another attribute of a writer. Every book I’ve written, I’ve reached a point where I think I’m just an idiot for carrying on with this pointless exercise – but somehow I still get to the end. I find it helps my confidence sometimes to go back to previous releases and read the good reviews. Even just one great review can make me feel it was all worthwhile. Best of luck to you with your writing, Fiona, and thanks for dropping in.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.