I know as soon as I post this, karma’s going to bite my ass, but I’m still doing it. I saw this quote today: “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
Is this why I haven’t yet learned how to create that emotional connection between readers and characters? Because I don’t think I’d actually have to die if I were forbidden to write. I mean, there would be a great deal of wallowing, and I’d become more talkative than I already am, which could get pretty nasty, but really.
And I see this so much in my writing communities: the notion that if you don’t HAVE TO write, than you are not truly a writer. Like we’re’ elitists, or some weird cult that requires our members to pay blood and sanity and grit in order to join. Let’s stop that. Writing is as free as love. And it can be normal. I have this notion that writing is less about obsession than it is hard work and determination. No need to become alcoholic or crazy, but go ahead if you must. I’ll be the first to admit desire for creative credit goes deep for me. There are days where I become so full of my own desire to have a publisher love my work, that it is all I can think about. Those are ugly days. But they will not kill me. It bothers me (on all the other days where I’m normal) to see quotes that allow for the weakness of heart–that seem to encourage the angsty tortured artist mentality.
I for one am going to allow myself to be fulfilled by other things: my children showing courage, my husband saving lives, laughter with my friends and coworkers. This is what I need to confess to myself: that writing is wonderful, but not the only happiness in the world. My reason for writing is not because I have to. It’s because it’s fun. And because it’s hard. And because its interesting. And good. And because I like flattery and having a publisher say to me “I really like this,” would be the ultimate form of flattery for me. It’s selfish. But it won’t kill me. And, I think if authors really thought about it, they’d actually come to the same conclusion. Or, maybe I just hope so. But either way, authors, can we keep the melodrama in our personal diaries?