Why Write?

Young Dorothy Parker
Interviewer: What, then, would you say is the source of most of your work?

Dorothy Parker: Need of money, dear.

I’m not sure that’s the case for most writers these days. Not at first. Unless you fit into a narrow section of authors (i.e. you either write a mega best-seller the first time you sit down or you write a series of self-published books that hits everyone’s Flavor of the Month buttons at once) you’re not going to make enough money to expect to support yourself by writing, not right away. So I suspect most people write because there’s a story that needs to free itself.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

Do not settle

I bargained with life for a penny
And life would pay me no more
Though I begged at every tide
When I counted my scanty store

For life is a just employer
And will pay you what you ask
But when you have set the wages
Then you must bear the task

I worked for a menial’s hire
Only to find dismayed
Whatever I had asked of life
Life would have gladly paid.
-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

Focus on this moment

A small flower refracted in rain droplets

Your patient will, of course, have picked up the notion that he must submit with patience to [God]’s will. What [God] means by this is primarily that he should accept with patience the tribulation which has actually been dealt out to him—the present anxiety and suspense. It is about this that he is to say “Thy will be done”, and for the daily task of bearing this that the daily bread will be provided. It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross but only of the things he is afraid of.

Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him, and let him try to practice fortitude and patience to them all in advance. For real resignation, at the same moment, to a dozen different and hypothetical fates is almost impossible, and [God] does not greatly assist those who are trying to attain it: resignation to present and actual suffering, even where that suffering consists of fear, is far easier and is usually helped by direct action.

-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I’m trying something new. On Fridays, I’m going to fast. An information fast, that is. I’m going to shut off the Internet and write.

I tried it last Friday. I was fairly twitchy at first. Kept reflexively moving the mouse over to the email icon or opening a web browser to look at the News or Twitter. If I had to pay myself a quarter every time I did that, I’d — well, I’d be able to buy myself more than a cup  of coffee. The experience was very educational.

We spend too much time looking at “what’s going on” in the world. It starts out as a reasonable thing to do. The world changes every second, there’s always something happening, and it’s basic human instinct to want to prepare for what’s coming.

The problem is, there is always something happening, something to worry about, something to stress or plan or prepare for. I am going to try taking one day out of the week and put the daily news on pause.

And write.

Let the winds blow

Arthur Rackham 1909 Undine (9 of 15)

“I accept the universe!”
– Margaret Fuller.
“Egad. She’d better.”
– Thomas Carlyle

There are things in my life I cannot control.

There are things in my life that I can. Such as how I spend my time.

Today, I chose to turn off the television, close Twitter, avoid email. I will light a candle against the darkness, sit down with my notepad and pen, and write.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Benjamin P. Hardy wrote a post on how you can be responsible for  your life despite factors that are outside your control.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men

Bernardo Daddi 001For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. – Gospel of Luke, 2:11-14

Peace and Good Will to you all.

On the Fear of Finishing Things

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. -Erica Jong

I am so close to finishing the second draft of Geoff and Lia’s story. So, of course, I’m dragging my feet.

Why? Because that means it’s the end of the fun part of writing for me. No more making things up and writing them down. Now I have to send it out into the cold, uncaring world. Other people are going to look at. They might point. They might snicker. They might wonder what kind of sick, demented imagination could think up such a story.

They might even want to buy it.

Oh my.
That is scary.

So I am going to go public. Announce to all the world, or at least as much of the world might be reading these words, that I am going to give myself a deadline. I will finish the second draft by December 20, 2016, 8:06 pm PST.

Now the pressure’s on.

IMG_1210

I am being watched.

I used to be afraid to finish a project. Because if I finished one, I’d have to submit it. And if I submitted it, I would have to suffer through the first of what would surely be fifty rejections, because that’s what EVERY writer has to go through, right? And I wasn’t ready for that.

So I didn’t write more than twenty pages of a book. Ever. Because it kept me safe from those rejections.

And what I didn’t realize was that I was rejecting myself. I was making the decision FOR all of those editors.

I finally got the courage to write a book. And I sent it in. And HOLY COW the publisher wanted to buy it.

Maisey Yates