One of my goals for the New Year was to start blogging more. And one of the things that holds me back from doing so, is trying to think of extravagant and interesting posts. I realize this is a silly problem to have. A blog is your place. A place to create, be original, be cliche, be boring, whatever. This is your place to imagine. So in honor of that, I’m going to be blogging more often, and one of the features I’m starting is “10 Things.” Each of these posts will be a different topic, and at the end, I’m hoping you’ll contribute some of your favorite things about the topic, should it appeal to you.
To kick off this post, we’re starting simple, with 10 Things I Love About Writing.
1. Variety. There are so many different routes you can take with any given story. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s overwhelming. There are all these options laid out before you like a road that’s split into a hundred trails. Some are flat and filled with horrendous creatures, while others are bumpy and lined with obstacles. The overwhelming part is in choosing the right path. Of course, there really is no right path, but it’s impossible at the time of choosing to realize that. Because with each story you craft, you want it to be the best it can possibly be, so choosing the path that doesn’t sate that desire is always in the back of your mind.
2. Therapy. Writing is a therapeutic procedure for me. If I’m feeling angry, sad, or any of the emotions that fill our lives, writing helps me explore those feelings. By the time I’m done a good writing session, I always feel better.
3. Escape. In the event that I’m not mad, or sad, or anything but happy, which is usually the case, writing is a that wonderful escape. Some like to disappear into video games, movies, music, or books, but for me, more than anything, I love to disappear into a world I’ve created, knowing anything can happen.
4. Imagination. The reason I choose to write Fantasy, is because there are no rules. Okay, that’s not true, there are always rules in each world that’s created, but they’re my rules. I get to say what happens, and I get to stretch the limits of what I think is possible. I can build a monster from the ground up, or modify one from legend. And my absolute favorite is world-building. I love creating new dimensions, with fresh landscapes and scenery.
5. Adventure. A story takes you places. Maybe it’s somewhere you’ve been before, or perhaps a place you never dreamed existed, but on that journey, there is a quest, a goal, or a task that needs to be accomplished. The part in between the beginning and the end is the adventure, and that’s the good stuff. I love adventure, and although I haven’t traveled the world, at times, I can get my adrenaline going with a great story. The obstacles our character might face, the loss he experiences, or a triumph he achieves, are all part of my love for writing. I love getting to experience that with them, and feel their reaction to all of it.
6. Emotion. There’s real emotion that comes with a book. When you’re reading that story and you start to tear up, or you feel the urge to stand up and cheer, those are the moments that you remember. You can feel the victory, just like that character did. Those are the stories you’ve been pulled so deeply into, you feel like you’re a part of them. I feel that way with all the stories I write. I’m write there with those characters, and when they’re hurting, so am I. As exhausting as that can be, it’s one of the greatest experiences, because knowing I’m feeling it, means you’re going to feel it too…or at least I hope so. And when I hit that special moment in a book, it’s like I’ve bonded with it on a whole new level.
7. Surprise. A lot of time when I’m writing, I know how the story is going to play out. Often times, even if there is no outline involved, I’ve thought about this story to such a degree, it’s like I’ve already experienced it before. But in every book, I reach a point when I write something down and it makes me stop. I ponder what just happened. That wasn’t in the cards, or at least not as far as I knew. Then I go back and read it, consider changing it to how it’s supposed to be, only to realize this is so much better than what was. Those moments are rewarding as a writer, and they’re always a welcome surprise. You never know when that inspiration might hit, but when it does, you’re page deep in an unexpected part of the adventure.
8. Curiousity. One of the things that comes with ‘7. Surprise,’ is wondering what might happen. As exciting as surprise can be, it’s also scary. If that surprise doesn’t work out, it can result in a whole lot of wasted writing time, and a bunch of revisions. But I never stop and push that new idea away at the risk of more work, because as a creator, I’m too curious for our own good. Sure, our original idea might have been great, but what is this new idea all about? It’s nearly impossible for me to not find out. I have to explore that path. That alone adds a new level of 6. Adventure, to the book. And more often than not, that path turns out to be exactly what my story needed.
9. Accomplishment. When you finish writing a book, it’s kind of a mind blowing experience. I’m not a veteran by any means, but I’ve written three books, and I can saw without a doubt, that after completing each one, I was amazed. How could I do that? How could I wrap so many ideas up in single thread, and spread it out over 300 pages? How could I dedicate my free time to writing something fiction? And more so, how could I be so involved and connected with these…characters, these people that don’t exist. I question my sanity, because I hang out for hours with these imaginary people that I created, but at the end of it all, I can look at this thick book of printed pages and know I created something. Not only that, I saw it through to the end and completed it. That’s a pretty amazing feeling.
10. Response. After months of writing, revising, taking criticisms, revising, designing covers, editing, revising, formatting, etc., I get to release my work into the world. Sometimes it hurts, because let’s be realistic, not everyone will like it. In fact, some people will hate it so much, they won’t only leave you a bad review, warning everyone to stay away from the steaming pile of dog crap you apparently left on their doorstep, but they’ll actually take time out of their lives to personally reach out to you, and tell you, just how much you suck. I think I’d prefer to have a nail hammered into my eye, only to be pulled out and lit on fire with vinegar, lemon juice, gasoline, and a match, but hey, that’s just me. The point is, with the bad, comes the good. Sometimes the really good.
More often than poo-flinging, you get readers who will reach out to you on some platform and tell you things you’d pay people to say. Maybe it was how your story touched their lives, or how relatable a character was, or maybe it’s a simple “I need more! I need to know what happens next.” Those are the people you write for. Maybe you start writing for you, but at some point, that direction shifts. I think you should always write the story that you want to read, but deep down inside, knowing there is someone out there waiting for this story, is a feeling that isn’t described by words. Even as an author, I’m not sure how to phrase it. And although I’m writing this story for me, I’m writing it for you too.
In the end, I love all these things about writing. And there are more things too, but I’ve already gotten out of hand with 10. Maybe I should make this a 5 Things topic. Anyways, you are what makes this worthwhile. It’s so much fun to create a new world and fill it with people. It’s amazing to experience that adventure first-hand. It’s surreal to see a finished product of your dedication. But it is unfreakingreal to hear somebody tell you they loved your book. That is an off-the-charts experience that leaves you speechless. All you can say is thank you, and tell them how happy you are that they enjoyed it, but after that, it feels like you’ve left them hanging. Those words aren’t enough to let that person know just how much that means to you. So instead, you write another book, for you, and for them, and hope that story shows them just how much they mean to you.
Now it’s your turn. I don’t care if it’s blogging, e-mails, or the secret story you’ve been crafting. Tell me what your favorite thing about writing is.
And if you have a topic you want to see featured on 10 Things, leave it in the comments or e-mail me and let me know!