Friday, September 2, 2011

Pink Snowbunnies and the experience of writing versus having written

I'm still curled up like a cat in my virtual windowsill, basking in the brief glow of having my flash fiction story published in the Pink Snowbunnies anthology, as I watch the responses roll in. We even have our first review! I have relished this sense of accomplishment through my non-fiction publications, but this time the fun is multiplied through sharing with 19 other authors. As contributors to a humor anthology, we continue to be anything but serious about the project. The jokes are still flying. This doesn't hurt either:

In the midst of this glow, the essence of a quote by Dorothy Parker came up in a writers' discussion on Kindle Boards: "I hate writing; I love having written." Responses were varied. Some agreed with Dorothy, preferring the post-writing stage that involves anything from editing to book promotion. Others straddled the divide by saying, "A bit of both." Most of the authors participating in the discussion echoed my own thoughts.

I love writing, but I hate starting to write. There are so many other worthwhile things to capture my attention—caring for my family, playing with my toddler, reading, and the list goes on—that I often dread pulling myself away to write. When I make myself sit down and write, the first few words, sentences, or paragraphs are a struggle, and then something magical happens. Like the endorphins from my wistfully-remembered exercise high, a soaring state of mind kicks in. The words flow. The process of writing becomes pure joy and I resent the intrusion of reality forcing me to stop.
Having written is also a great feeling. The little voice telling me that I need to write is momentarily silenced. I experience a sense of mental lightness and accomplishment. Being able to share my thoughts and stories with others takes the fun to the next level.

What I am finding that I do not like is the act of re-writing and self editing. Even though I enjoy editing others' writing, plodding through the mechanics of my own writing is a struggle. I think of new ideas and twists that I would like to incorporate, and then I second-guess myself. Is it too much? Cutting is hard, even though I know that it will enhance the story. I finish an article or story, and then I learn something new that leads to the realization of how much better it could have been.

Writing is both a chore and a passion. The point is to keep moving forward and to enjoy the growing and learning experience along the way. With that in mind, it is high time that I stop procrastinating and get back to the work of rewriting. More color will spread across my Work in Progress bar in the coming weeks.

I might re-write Dorothy Parker's quote thus: I hate beginning to write; I love writing and having written.

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