I know the title of this blog post might make you wonder how are there only four things to love and just one thing to hate about writing, but it would’ve been a long post if I listed everything I love and hate.
So, in the interest of keeping it brief-ish, here are the top four reasons why my love of writing is so strong, and the one thing that frustrates me the most.
1. The Writing
If you’re going to list what you love about writing, number one has to be actually writing. Sure there are days when I procrasta-write instead of churning out decent prose, but once I’m stringing together sentences and re-writing that paragraph about a sunset I’ll later cut, it’s the only way I want to spend any of my time.
2. The Discovery
This ranges from finding a love of writing itself, to everything you discover while you’re doing it. Those little plot twists that come together. That idea you thought of five years ago that makes sense for the book you started writing last month. Your characters surviving everything you do to them and then discovering that they (and you) are better for it. It’s finding your hidden talent of crafting words in a beautiful way. That you can write a whole book, no matter how many years it takes. It’s also unearthing how strong you are and how you can keep going after setbacks and the grief of rejection.
3. The Planning
I’m not a planner in the traditional sense. I don’t need character profiles, every plot twist nailed down, and an outline of each chapter to start writing. What I’m good at is planning after the fact. This uses my reverse outlining superpowers to make sense of the first draft so that I can move through the second like a detective, piecing it all together and working out where all the strong and weak spots are.
4. The Calm
That calm that comes over you after you’ve written is the biggest natural high. It’s like ticking off your to-do list every day with satisfied smugness. When I’ve written, a weight has lifted and I’ve achieved my goals for the day, even if I got nothing else done.
But, as the cliché goes, the calm comes before the storm, and the stormiest thing about writing—the one thing I hate the most—is…
1. The Unknown
As much as rejection and the self-doubt sucks, you can push past them (eventually, and aided by lots of chocolate). It’s the unknown that bothers me.
The unknown is not knowing why an agent rejected you.
It’s not knowing why it seems like you’re the only writer in the world who didn’t land an agent or a book deal on your first try. I know that’s not true but social media is crafty about making you feel as if every other writer signed with the first agent they contacted, or that their book sold during their first round of submissions. It makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong.
It’s also never knowing if what you’re writing is as good as you want it to be, especially when the constant rejection makes you think that it’s not.
Not knowing if or when it’ll ever be your turn to catch that break makes writing something I hate. It’s during those days that the most important thing to remember is the four reasons why I love it, and to never stop finding new things about writing to love and add to my list.
What are the four things you love the most? Let me know in comments.
— K.M. Allan