Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's Writing Got to Do with It?

Last week I had several occasions to rant and rave about the state of things in my life. Most of the upset stemmed from frustration over household projects that just don't seem to be going anywhere.

So today I've decided to give you my feelings about why I'm addicted to writing. I know my family must often wonder why I'd prefer to fritter away my time putting words on paper rather than doing their dirty laundry. Well, they'll find the answer in the following (too bad the two-year-old can't read):

#1: Writing stays done.

Once those words are on the page, they stay there. When I turn my back, they don't disappear. No one messes them up. No one erases them. I don't have to rewrite them every 5, 15, or 30 minutes. It's permanent (as long as I backed them up on disk).

#2: It never complains.

My writing doesn't turn its nose up at what I cook for dinner. Doesn't turn into a prima donna when it doesn't get its way. Doesn't collapse to the floor in a tantrum of tears. Doesn't make seemingly innocent comments about being neglected.

#3: It shows up for an appointment.

Writing is always there. It never stands me up when I'm ready to work. Sure, I've suffered from writer's block plenty of times. But that's not the writing's fault, that's mine. I never have to worry that I'll set aside time to work and end up with no characters, plot, or ideas to work with.

#4: Writing Friends are willing to help.

I've never had a fellow author refuse to answer a question. Never had a brainstorming or critique partner tell me it was too much trouble to work on my book. Never had a Playfriend look exasperated when I asked for help or advice.

#5: Writing never makes me feel guilty.

It doesn't have a "poor pitiful me" look. Doesn't beg, whine, or tear up. Doesn't give me the cold shoulder. And is its own reward for hard work.

#6: Which brings us back to #1: Writing stays done.

It doesn't disappear like my nice, neat flower beds after I've spent weeks digging grass out of them—only to have it grow back in two days.

And they wonder why I want to waste my time writing? Because it makes the frustrations in life easier to deal with; it shows me the hope beyond the pain; it celebrates the love of friends and family (despite the dirty laundry); it takes me on a journey away from the mundane. Life wouldn't be life without it.

How does writing help you cope with everyday life?



Kathy said...

Nicely said, Angel!

Writing takes me beyond the now. I remember sitting in class as a child, looking out the window, my head full of daydreams and having to curtail an urge to go play outside. Words on the page are like daydreams. They transport us to another sphere in the midst of sorrow, pain, loneliness, and fatigue. Words transport us to places, however distant or historically removed, places that we could never go on our own. Words on the page, when nicely embellished, bring peace, joy, and laughter, to a dull or breaking heart. For these reasons and more, I read and I write.

I write to break monotony, to increase brain cells, to connect with humanity. I write because I have to, because there is something within that needs to be said, heard, felt, lived. I write to better experience life and to understand it.

Let's face it. Writing is a calling. A lonely business but all of us feel an undeniable urge to do it whether it earns us any accolades or not. Writing is... because we are.


Linda Winstead Jones said...

I remember having those exact same thoughts when my kids were younger. I can spend a day writing and have a nice chapter that will be around forever. Or I can spend a day making a really great meal -- which will be devoured in 15 minutes (I have three boys) and leave a mess that takes another day to clean. :-)

That's just a pleasant byproduct of writing for me, I suppose, at least now that the kids are grown. It's now a part of who I am, and if I don't write I'm miserable. I can take a few days or even a couple of weeks off, and after that I have to write. I get grumpy if I don't have at least one or two projects in the works.

I think writing is addictive, and I'm hooked. :-)


Playground Monitor said...

I'm not sure I can add anything beyond what you guys have already said. I don't have deadlines to meet (other than self-imposed ones) and I am not depending on writing to pay the bills. But I feel like I've omitted something important if I don't at least jot down a few words about something each day.


Smarty Pants said...

I think even if there was no chance that I would ever sell, I would still write. I wouldn't subject myself to those terrible 6 week challenges and stress myself to tears about submissions, but I would still sit down and tell stories. I've never thought about it as being one of the few constant and reliable parts of my life, but I guess you're right. I can't count on beds staying made or dishes staying clean, but my story is whatever I make it - good or bad.

Problem Child said...

It doesn't grow, get dirty, require feeding, watering, or cleaning. Words are my friends...