Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are you Happy being a Writer? by DL Larson

I've never been asked such a question, but after reading an article about what makes people happy, I have to say I'm more satisfied being a writer than anything else. Maybe it's the same for you. The journey for many writers is long and grueling, but I have experienced untold hours of happiness while churning out words that twist and mesh together. To create and shape conflict, or brew trouble out of nothing but words is powerful stuff. To use my voice to enlighten the reader to my character's insight delights me as if I'm at a candy counter and have all the time in the world to decide what delectable item I need to express just the right emotion.
The process of writing makes me very happy.

Unfortunately, for some of us, what comes after the initial writing is not so fun. The rewrites or fixing technical problems becomes a burden. It's no longer as intriguing as it was when I first started. Now I must face the fact my writing is not perfect; I spent too much time at the candy counter or not enough time chosing diversified words. I left holes in the script, my point of views aren't quite right, and the plot sagged toward the end. Now's the time to get serious and fix the problems I created.

I realized long ago I needed to change my attitude when it came to rewriting and editing my work. And I found happiness once again. The idea is simple and if you like sweets as much as I do, this process might make your rewrites more enjoyable.
I generally let my work sit for awhile, I walk away from it and begin a new project. It may be for a few days or longer. The point is I focus on something else. Then, I go back. Standing before the candy counter in my mind, I re-read my work and the old feeling of excitement for my story floods back because I've allowed myself to have fun with the words once again. I'm back to picking and chosing just the right phrase, inserting whole bits of diaglogue or backdrop that was overlooked before. I think of myself as my assistant, perfecting my work with a critical eye for detail. I even laugh and poke fun of my own mistakes. What was she thinking? Can you believe she actually wrote that? It's proven to be so much more beneficial than being self-critical and beating myself up for not writing my story correctly the first time around.

Writing has so many layers to it few of us get it right the first time the words land on the paper. Finding satisfaction with the process of story telling is much healthier than demanding perfection with every sentence I write. Words flow easier if I'm not scrutinizing each as they enter my mind. I give myself permission to have fun with my writing. Afterall, the plot, the setting, the characters are only words on paper. They can be rearranged any time, over and over and over again. They can be taken away or replaced. I am the one who breathed life into them, no one but me. I have the power to form them to fit my needs.

I've never once run out of words, there's so many to chose from. When I start a new project the candy counter is over-flowing once again. I pace back and forth, wondering, pondering, thinking of all the delectable possiblities. What a wonderful dilemma. I'm a happy writer indeed!

How about you? Are you happy being a writer?

Til next time ~

DL Larson


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I thoroughly enjoy being a writer. I love it when I begin a book--though sometimes I sweat blood while writing it. I love rewriting. I enjoy doing the edits when it comes back from the editor at the publishing company. I love setting up promotions and meeting people at the in-person events. I like the promotion I do on the Net. I love going to new places and meeting people while attending conferences and conventions.

Yep, I enjoy being a writer.


Anonymous said...

I love this idea - thanks so much for the post and for reminding me! YES! I recently re-read an essay by Barbara Kingsolver, in which she comments on this very idea. Someone was whining to her about how hard writing was, and she responded with something like "No. It's not. Putting down street pavement when it's over 100 degrees is HARD. Writing is actually enjoyable work."

I'm paraphrasing, but hopefully I'm relaying the sentiment. Our job is a great one.

Meg said...

I am happy being a writer. Sometimes I wish I'd be happy being an accountant or lawyer. Something you know if you're even decent at you can get a paying job.

But I love writing. So I make it work. :D

Deb Larson said...

Sounds as if I'm in good company.
I love the challenge of the work and gratification of a job well done.
Marilyn - I agree with you - I love every aspect, every challenge, sometimes they scare me, but it's the stretching of my wings that make it all so exciting.
Drue and Meg: thanks for sharing. It's great to do something we love and the rewards are often times more than monetary!!

Thanks for visiting Acme today!
DL Larson