Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do you LOVE to write?

I periodically pick up Stephen King's wonderful On Writing, thumb to a random page, and start reading. It seems that no matter where I start reading, I find something useful that aids me in my writing career.

Today, I grabbed the dog-eared copy that lives permanently next to my bed and opened it to ... well, that part the always makes me feel guilty. Damn it.

It's the part of the book where he goes on and on about how much a real writer needs to love the act of writing. According to King, one should write no less than a thousand words a day -- seven days a week. Anything less means you're not (gulp) a serious writer.

And you had better love it. King claims that a real writer (my words, not his) loves writing, the act of writing, more than anything in life. Yes. More than sex. More than chocolate. Even more than baseball!

As Scooby-Do says, "Rut row."

Don't get me wrong. I love writing. Except for those days when I hate writing. You know? I mean, there are days when really good shit just oozes from my keyboard. Those, unfortunately, are few and far between. Mostly, there are days when I sit for hours and crank out 250 words of pure, unadulterated crap. Can I get an amen? No? Never mind.

On those days, I absolutely despise writing. Hate it. I'd rather be cleaning the toilet than sitting at this computer trying to make sense of the crap coming out of my brain.

Ah. But here's my saving grace (you knew there'd be one, didn't you?): I would rather sit here and squeeze out those crappy 250 words than not write. That's right. I'd rather suffer through writer's block and crappy prose and shitty first drafts (thanks, Anne LaMott) and all those things we take for granted each and every day, than not write.

That must mean I love writing to some degree, right? Why else do it? But to say that I love the act of writing more than anything else on Earth?


For this writer, doing the really difficult writing is like slicing open a vein. It hurts. It's depressing. It seldom puts me in a better mood.

The only time I'm in a worse mood is when I'm not writing. Sigh.

How about you? Where does writing -- not having written, but the actual act of writing fiction -- fall on your like scale?


  1. Writing is such a chore for me, except that once I am in the middle of it I do love it. I fall into a zone and everything pours out and I am always proud of myself afterward. Why then is it so hard to make myself get started?

  2. I have to write every single day. No matter what, no matter if it's Sunday, no matter if I'm on vacation. And some days what I write is crap and I don't care. I'd rather write crap and fix it than write nothing at all.

    Being an ex-alcoholic, I had to give up all my other addictions. This is the only one I have left and no one is taking it away from me.

  3. stephen king is an amazing writer- and apparently very passionate about his craft...
    but that doesn't mean he's always right.

    there are as many different emotions and motivations and levels of love behind writing as there are writers. it's the diversity in us that keeps the stories interesting. if we were all just like mr. king there would be a finite amount of stories. but we are not.

    and there's nothing wrong with that.

    some days i can't write- i get blocked, or distracted, or just plain too busy. that doesn't mean i don't love it.

    frustration is not the same thing as hate... love and ease are not the same thing... actually, i'd argue that it takes more love for the craft to endure when it comes difficultly than to breeze through a given number of words a day...

  4. That book is one of the very best books ever written ON writing.

    "Don't get me wrong. I love writing. Except for those days when I hate writing. You know? "

    I do know! I know all too well!

  5. I don't write every day, but when there's a been a long, no-writing span of days, I get really cranky. Stephen King is my writing-idol, but I wouldn't freak out if you don't hold to his standard. I saw in a TV interview with Judy Blume that she has a hard time writing, so everyone's going to be different--even the superstars.

  6. I think I love it ALMOST more than everything. But I like finishing the writing more! :o) hehe

    Are you a writer? Then you MUST enter this CONTEST!

  7. I am in a worse mood when I don't write. It's my outlet but I don't agree with Mr. King that you have to love every moment of writing. I've spoke with many successful authors who don't love every aspect of it and some actually kick and scream the whole way. I love when I'm in the zone and when I've written but there are some parts of writing that bother me at times. Such is life. If every part of it was perfect, we wouldn't have anything to blog about. ;)

  8. Hi Terry. Yes, I love writing - perhaps not more than EVERYTHING else. But almost. I think more to the point, writing might be the only pursuit during which I'm not thinking that my time would be better spent doing something else. When I do go a few days without writing, it gets me down, because I feel like valuable time is passing me by. I think that makes me a writer, more than the love of writing. I have to do it.