Monday, January 11, 2010

To the storytellers out there...

MISS SNARK said once:



“Here’s the thing. You have to write the thing that fills you with passion. You have to write something you love the way you love your children: all the time, even when you want to murder them. You have to write something you love so much it doesn’t even cross your mind to ask ‘am I wasting my time’ because to NOT write it would be wasting your heart.”

I wasn’t the biggest Snark fan. Wait, wait, hear me out before you hit the back button. I had nothing against her. I just don’t go blindly into following someone who stays anonymous. (Yes, I’ve always been this suspicious of people. Even as a kid I didn’t trust the mall Santas.) But Miss Snark did have some amazing tidbits of advice to share. I’m going to admit something here, I personally have more passion now than when I started back in 2002. I love writing, but I love storytelling more.

A deep fear I have is when the storytelling becomes a chore. When the fun is gone. When the passion vanishes completely. I’m not talking about the slight case of boredom or feeling a little in the rut. That is sooo not what I’m referring to. There are days I don’t want to write. I don’t want to build a character sheet. Don’t feel like pulling out my dry erase boards to plot.

What I’m referring to is the total loss of joy for writing. I know a lot of writers who call themselves storytellers, but they turn away from their writing because they didn’t sell. Because they heard the word “no” too many times. Because commercially they’re not living the dream that’s expected. Too many writers measure their success by the amount of their advances, which agent they have and the major deal from their publisher.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen aspiring authors start a flame war on their blogs, leave scathing comments on other people’s blogs or on a website because of how unhappy they are. They start to feel they have to suffer. And I do think their love turned to hate.

I don’t have any clever answers as to how to stop the loss of happiness, except to keep remembering why I love to tell a story. Miss Snark’s advice above is probably the best for me so far: “You have to write something you love so much it doesn’t even cross your mind to ask ‘am I wasting my time’ because to NOT write it would be wasting your heart.”

4 comments:

  1. Well said to you and Miss Snark, both!

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  2. Thank you, Val. I've noticed a trend online. Beginning of the year, everyone is riding high...by late November...not as much.

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  3. Absolutely! I've tried and tried and TRIED to leave writing, but it's too much a part of me to lock up and let go. For me, the only reason to write is for the love, the need, the deep burning hunger to get the story out and onto paper. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

    {{huggs}}

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  4. I so understand that, Tammy. If there was something I'd give up it would be submitting, not writing. I'm glad to hear you're writing and that you've found a peaceful place.

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