Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Am I Doing This?

MONDAY NOTE: I'm discontinuing my Monday Colorado Author Feature in 2010. Any discussion of authors or their books will be as intermittent and random as the other topics I choose on the fly.


Why am I doing this? Why do I stop reading great novels, trudge off to my computer, and try to write one instead? No matter how many times I read a blog post or an essay** that poses this question, I still don't get it. I don't understand why I've always wanted to write. I don't understand why I'm willing to keep writing even though I now have more unpublished manuscripts than published novels. I don't understand why I feel anxious and guilty when I'm not writing.

**George Orwell's essay, Why I Write, comes to mind.

Last week I read two Harlan Coben suspense novels. I'm writing a suspense novel. All the way through Coben's books, as I kept turning the pages, captivated by the unexpected twists and turns, the tension, I kept asking myself, "Are my characters as interesting as Coben's? Is my pacing as good? Is my plot as intriguing?"

Now that I'm finished with my holiday reading binge, I'm back at my computer, taking another look at my own work, wondering if Mr. Coben would think my writing pretty good . . . or promising . . . or just pure crap. I'm taking a deep breath and forging ahead, determined to get this first draft finished (the one I'd hoped to finish by December 31st). The revision process will start soon, and the critical self-editing phase. I have a ways to go before I can submit this manuscript to agents or editors.

So, really. Why am I doing this?

I'm doing it because, no matter how hard I try, I can't make myself stop.


Terry Odell said...

So true. If you write, you HAVE to write. But it sure does change the way you read!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I completely identify with this post. Completely. I think the same things when I'm reading a really good book which makes me go back to my manuscript with a harshly judging attitude.

Best wishes to get that draft done; I'm aiming to finish mine by the end of next month; although sooner would be better.


Jeanie said...

Well, Patricia, you could have a way worse addiction, so I say keep doing what you love (and must) do.

Jemi Fraser said...

That made me smile - I think many of us are in the same boat! I love bringing characters to life and putting them through the twists and turns of the plot. So much fun :)

Mason Canyon said...

There's something about the ink (from books or newspapers) that gets into your blood and you can't get it out. So, why fight it. Just enjoy and keep on keeping on.

If anyone tells you, you should stop - don't listen because there's a 99.9% chance they have never written anything including a letter.

Now I've got to add Harlan Coben's books to list of wish books. They sound great.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Love this post! You remind me of myself! I ask all those questions on a daily basis and the answer is always the same...I'm addicted and I can't stop or ever!!!! What would I do with my life if I couldn't/didn't write????? I can't even go there!!!

By the way, I read all of Coben's books and he's one of my favorite authors.

Karen Walker said...

This brought tears to my eyes, Patricia, because I feel so much the same way. Oy vay!

N A Sharpe said...

I totally agree. I think Terry nailed it - when you write you HAVE to write...and when you don't it feels like a piece of you is missing. I love this post and all the great comments.

~Nancy, from Realms of Thought

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, can I understand that feeling! That's why for me, too! Thanks for the reminder. Needed it this time of the year!

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's such a great feeling to work on a project, isn't it? Once I get going, I could write for hours because the time zips by. And yet, the simple act of opening up Word and getting I the only one who has trouble with that?

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I think it says a lot of positive things about you that you've more than one finished MS. Yes, they may be unpublished, but that's not an important metric here. Just getting to the end of one MS is a big accomplishment.Several is tougher still. Good job.

Best Regards, Galen.

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jan Morrison said...

Because you are a writer! And good for honouring that essential part of you.