Completing NaNoWriMo has left me wondering just why we make ourselves go through the writing process when it’s so stinking difficult. (Yes, I’m still thinking of NaNo…it’s left me traumatized.)
Just why do people torture themselves by forcing themselves to write words when there just aren’t any floating around in their brains at the moment? Why do we commit to the frustration of hours spent hammering out a first draft that no one will see and then a second draft that no one will see. And maybe a third that only our Bata readers will see (and consequently will be scarred for life).
Even after all that drafting, we have to write yet another draft because those dang Bata readers aren’t satisfied with our genius writing.
If writing a story causes so much frustration, why don’t we just stop?
There is something in those mystical creatures called writers that drives us to write. It nags us when we don’t write. It bubbles in our gut, reminding them that creativity needs to be released. If we refuse to write, we start talking to ourselves in our cars, because if the story can’t get out through our finger tips, it will get out somehow.
Besides the inner demon writers posses that propels them to stay up all hours of the night imagining scenes, there must be some other reason we keep doing what we do.
There’s an easy answer for why we start stories. Starting a new story is addicting. There are so many possibilities to explore. Anything can happen in the world we’ve made up. The sky’s the limit. Actually, the sky isn’t the limit. It’s our world. Go beyond the sky. Make a world without a sky.
Story ideas are fun. Scribbling down new characters and new worlds is thrilling. It hasn’t had time to grow into a monster that torments you with plot holes and gives you nightmares of giant plot bunnies that munch up your manuscript.
So why let it get to that point? Why not just give up on the story when it gets hard and go chasing that new shiny idea?
Because then we never get that tremendous satisfaction that comes from finishing.
There is something more satisfying about completing a story than there is with anything else I’ve done. Strangely enough, I get more satisfaction after finishing a story than I did after receiving my associate’s degree.
Yes, writers are weird.
Nothing can compare to the feeling of satisfaction when reading your story and thinking, I did that.
A writer has the unique opportunity to create people, cultures, and even worlds. We can make rings that make the wearer invisible and create tiny people who live in hobbit holes. We can create camps where demigods spend their summer. We create schools where candles float and chocolates are shaped like frogs that can actually jump away from you.
There’s so much room for creativity when writing a story that a creative person might explode from sheer happiness.
But all the creativity and fun of playing in our world doesn’t mean much if we never get to share it, and we never get to share it if we never finish it.
So while the terrorizing writing demon and the promise of a fun new adventure may play a part in making us actually write down the crazy ideas that our brains burp up, it isn’t what keeps us going until the dark and lonely end. It’s the thought of sharing our story that is a beacon of light, shining the way past the jagged rocks of fear that paralyze us from going on until it is finished.
It is you, dear reader, that keeps us going even when we want to burn our manuscript in the flames of Mordor so it has no chance of coming back.
Basically, I wrote this whole post to say thank you Epic Dreamers for being my inspiration and rallying behind me on my quest to authorhood.
Without you, my story would be in the flames of Mordor.