having written

I saw a quote once that said “I don’t like writing. I like to have written.” Years ago, I didn’t agree with this statement. Writing was the best! Writing was amazing! Writing was fun! Why wouldn’t you like to write??

The longer I write, however, the more I see the statement’s point. The actual act of writing is – surprise? Work. It’s work, ladies and gentlemen, and there’s no getting around it. When I was younger and wrote nothing but short stories and the beginnings of books I had no idea how to finish, it was play. I was a child fooling around with crayons, drawing what I thought were Louvre-worthy masterpieces.

601313_428777073871215_269565519_nNow that I’m writing with the goal of finishing my books and publishing them, writing is a very different thing. It’s a project; something I set for myself. Oh, I love it, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t write. It’s just a different feeling now. Writing is a sort of magic, and as we all know, weilding magic means responsibility. I’m sure it would be fun to write whatever I felt like, to unleash the magic and watch it create and destroy on a whim, but I can’t do that. There are glorious moments in writing – writing endlessly in notebooks, getting to know the colorful characters that people your head, the moment when you turn on the music, settle down with coffee, and begin to bring your dreams to life. But writing with a purpose in mind gives an element of solemnity to the whole thing – no matter if you’re writing a comedy or a drama or a dark, dangerous story or a story about love – writing is a serious business. You’re responsible for what you put out into the world. You’re responsible for your characters, and for your readers. You’re responsible for worlds.

That’s why, as much as I do love writing, I love having written more.

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11 thoughts on “having written

  1. Very good! A wonderful post! I’d like to say one thing though. I heard this once and I think its rather true, “Every story is a love story with a plot twist.” Just thought that was really interesting since whether its a love between a man and woman, soldier and country, fat guy and his cheeseburger, every story was a love story. Just sort of came back to mind at the end when you were saying writing was a serious business and you were listing the types of stories. Doesn’t have too much to do with the post, but I rather like that saying. 🙂

  2. How true this is! I adore writing, but I like having something finished more. I’m soon to finish my second novella, and I have found that having it done is much more thrilling.

  3. Ohmygosh. YES. I’ve felt this way for a few years now, and I seriously wondered if there was something wrong with me. Writing is so haaaard. Ernest Hemingway had it right when he said, “Sit at the typewriter and bleed”. Gah. Yes. I look back on the days when I spewed out book after book, all so “epic” and how I loved every minute of writing them. Ah, the good old days…

  4. Very true, it is a lot of hard work and while it is worth it, getting to the end takes a lot of time and effort. But speaking as one of your readers, I am glad you do it.

  5. these feels. i know them.
    in all seriousness, though: writing is work. but then again, like you said, it’s so beautiful…like Anaïs Nin said: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”

    it’s hard. but if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it.

  6. Oh, I needed this post today! I feel so bogged down sometimes I just want to chuck my notebooks off Saint Bart’s hospital.
    It’s a relief to read what feels like a friend’s permission to just take things one step at a time.

  7. I wrote a post about this concept way back in the day – as in, the very first month I started the whole blogging thing. Long enough ago that I just had to dig it up again to remember what my thoughts were. Which is sad. Anyhow, my thought then was that if you do not have any enjoyment in writing, you ought to question your vocation, just as you would if you were an architect with no love for designing or a banker with no interest in banking. But while I still agree with that (for the most part), I think you have said it better here: Writing is responsibility. Responsibility is tough. Writing is, essentially, for those who take it seriously, work.

    I still think it’s deceptive to say, “I don’t like writing. I like having written.” No, you may not always like writing – I know I don’t – but if you never like it, it seems to me you’re in a sticky situation. If you have no joy in the process at all, why bother? However, I also believe the joy is a result of the writer’s vision of the final product. Thus your statement nails it:

    “As much as I do love writing, I love having written more.”

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