Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pleasure of Writing

Portrait of two young girls--Aime BarraudI’ve been absolutely slammed with activity the last couple of weeks and it doesn’t look like it’s letting up until maybe another week down the road.

I was running errands on Monday when I remembered my son had asked me to pick up some nonfiction books for a paper he’s writing on typhoid and the American Civil War, so I made a detour into the library.

I pulled out a bunch of books and was about to check them out and scurry off again for more errands when I noticed how peaceful the library was. It was about 11:00 in the morning and there were only adults quietly reading or researching on the second floor of the Morrison Library. I pulled out my notebook from my pocketbook and took a seat.

And just like that (and I’m not a sentimental person) but the craziness of the past week melted away and I felt complete joy.

The funny thing is that I can’t really explain why writing is so enjoyable. It’s almost like I’m a kid again—pretending. That was fun, too. Except that, as a grown-up, you can’t actively go around making things up and pretending….unless you’re a writer. Then it’s allowed—and encouraged.

Sometimes, the writing isn’t as fun. Sometimes the deadlines and the promo and the worry over the story make me forget the fun. Sometimes writing is tedious. Sometimes I’m scared to death that the ideas won’t come as obligingly as they always have. Sometimes I look at my publishing contracts and think that I’m just a business person after all, and not a creative person.

To forget the bad parts, when I feel that surge of---well, it’s almost an endorphin rush of elation, I remember it. I hold onto it. Ultimately, the reason I keep on writing is my love of writing. The left-brained part of the equation is a more calculated plan involving the readers and what the readers would enjoy reading. That’s important, too. But it’s my love of writing that keeps me going.

The headlines have been rough lately for writers—bookstores closing, confusing choices to make, a changing future for books. What I keep going back to is the writing itself.

Because even a bad day writing is better than a good day spent doing most other things.

What keeps you writing?