Writing our way to joy

by Amber Keyser
Published on: July 12, 2013
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IMG_1072I’ve been wondering lately if I complain too much about how hard it is to write a book.  I’m a realist, so perhaps it’s understandable.  After all, we become writers through our efforts.

At the idea stage, it might look like an easy hop-skip-jump to write a book. If we stick with it, we realize along the way that it really is a demanding, intense, difficult job to tell a good story.

If we push on to pursue publication, we learn, as Maggie Steifvater pointed out at a recent conference, “to distrust the yes.”  We steel ourselves for rejections, for bad reviews, for dismal sales because over and over again we face these things.

There is real danger that we can lose the delight of those initial ideas and come to detest the book we’ve revised fifty times.  If we do well, there’s a chance that writing will become our (gasp) job.  That is a very different beast from stealing time with our precious story from the “real world.”

I write full time during the school year when my kids are in school.  As we eased into summer, I was busy readjusting to having them home and catching up on household related tasks I’d let slide in the final marathon push to get a draft finished of my current novel.

After a few weeks, I got itchy.  My mind whirled back to the book.  My fingers were ready to get back to it.  This week my kids were in camp and I revised every day.  And it was wonderful!  I often struggle with revision and this was no different I suppose, but it just felt so great to be back into the story and rediscover how much I love it.

All my life I’ve kept journals, often filled with angsty scrawls.  I do it to purge the thoughts that trouble me and to find solutions to thorny situations.  Perhaps in my books I do the same but it never ceases to amaze me how we can write our way to joy.

May it happen for you.

 

Post Revisions:

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