What Is Writing?

This week I was in a funk. Down in the dumps. Not writing. Woe-is-me. Then, I changed my attitude. I started writing again, and I felt a huge wave of relief run through me. I’m a writer. I’m meant to write. When I don’t write I become morose.

I read an article the other day. It was an article from the New Yorker called Is Writing Torture? A young new writer/waiter in a cafe presented his manuscript to the Philip Roth, and Roth apparently told him “I would quit while you’re ahead.” Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love was upset by this advice and said writing is a “fucking great” job.

Their different viewpoints on writing don’t surprise me. Look at Roth’s writing. It’s dark. Look at Gilbert’s. Love is magical and wonderful. Life is amazing. Some people think Roth was only kidding. Being the older mentor who threw a curve ball at this kid to see if he would flinch. And some people think Gilbert is not realistic. Writing is not great: it’s hard as fuck!

I think both contradictory views are true. Writing is torture and writing is a “fucking great” job. I need to write. It’s not a want. It’s not a hobby. It’s something deep inside of me. When I don’t write I’m unhappy. Writing’s explicit job in my life is for me to be able to verbally throw up all the shit from inside my brain onto the computer so I feel like I’ve dealt with the crap swirling around in my mind and can move on. Writing is cathartic. Writing is therapy. Writing is a way for me to deal with ideas and thoughts I can’t quite wrap my mind around.

And, no, this does not make writing easy. Nothing about writing is easy. Hey, No Turning Back, my self-published book is currently sitting at a rank of 1,000,000 on Amazon, and I have no idea how to market it to get to more readers. It’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s hard to get your name out there. It’s hard to find readers. It’s hard when you write something and you think it’s amazing, and someone else tells you it sucks. But that’s the job just like any other job and you have to roll with the punches and move on. A writer isn’t someone who is going to quit because it’s hard. A writer doesn’t really have that option, because the need to write always rears its ugly head.

The thing about writing I find most difficult is not the writing part. A writer has to wear many hats: editor, marketer, public speaker, etc. Marketing is somewhat of an enigma to me. The point is to have other people spread the word about your work, but I haven’t gotten there yet. And I think a lot of it is a time management problem. With three kids, a day job, and a busy life I simply don’t have as much time as I want to put into it. If it was up to me I’d put a huge amount of time into finding more ways to market my work. But, I’m confident one day I’ll get to the point where I can devote all my time to this job.

So is writing torture? No. It’s a way of life, and life is full of ups and downs.

16 thoughts on “What Is Writing?

  1. I thought I’d seen less of you and missed your stories. 😦 Glad you came around. 🙂

    “Writing is cathartic. Writing is therapy. Writing is a way for me to deal with ideas and thoughts I can’t quite wrap my mind around.” This. A thousand times over.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I totally understand that. I’ve hard to cut back but it’s for a good cause! The WIP is getting more attention than before. 😛
        Hope to see you before too long! What are you working on atm? Anything?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep! Lots in the works. The Devil Within comes out June 22nd. I’m working on a “horror” novella about a serial killer, spawned from a flash idea. And I’m working on another novel!
        Glad to see you’re working hard on your WIP! What’s it about?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh those all sound intriguing! Flash pays off. 🙂

        It’s a dark novella that watches a boy struggle against the superstitious beliefs of his village, and finding acceptance of himself. Sort of in the vein of Pan’s Labyrinth.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your viewpoints. Writing is a full-time job, like anything else. But not many people can say they enjoy what they do. And I admit I look at writing as more of a hobby than work. I want that to change. I know being a writer means wearing many hats to get my works recognized. I think it’s worth the effort.

    By the way, congrats on pushing through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lauren, personally, with three young children, I don’t know how you get anything done! I am retired and have no excuse, but I have not been writing or reading lately, feeling the funk a bit myslef. Maybe our A-Z challenge wore us out, it did me! LOL I love your writing, and these thoughtss inspire me to get back out there also, Thanks, I needed that! Helen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen! Boy, have I missed your writing, and thought of you frequently. I hope you’re well. Thank you for the kind words about my writing. I appreciate it, and I hope to read some of your writing soon. 🙂

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  4. Lauren, if you hit a funk, no wonder I did too. I was so down last night, I went to bed at 8pm and just cried. I’m really feeling that whole – who am I, what am I doing, where am I going thing. Not just with the writing, but with the new life coaching business. I decided to put the blog aside and concentrate on “serious” writing – but then couldn’t write at all – till this afternoon. I guess it’ll all come out the way its meant to if I just keep on keeping on. I have missed reading your blog, and Helen’s, and George’s and many of the other 10-minute A-Z-ers. Looking forward to your cover reveal and to hearing more about that horror novella!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debs–stick with it. I just read “The Alchemist.” Have you read it? It changed my perspective on why I write and made me really want to stick with it. It’s supposed to be hard, but in the end it will be worth it. I miss our A-Z crew too! I can’t wait for it next year, I wish I had the motivation to blog every day still! I hope you get fully out of your funk. Keep on going.

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