I don’t often mention him here, but I do have a husband, and today is our wedding anniversary. Which one? Well … let’s just say it’s closer to Golden than Silver. My husband tells me his co-workers can’t believe he’s still married to his first wife. I was thinking about that yesterday when I realized I could relate it to writing. You’re not surprised, are you?
We married young—way too young—and, on the surface, we had little in common. (He’s not even a reader. *gasp*) But the most important thing we shared was the concept of marriage as a commitment, not an experiment. We had some very rough times, times when the temptation to give up appeared like a key to the Promised Land. “This is too hard. This is not what I wanted. This is insane.” At times, that was a daily litany, but always we kept going. We had a commitment we would try our best to honor.
Can you see how this applies to writing?
Everything I wrote before the last two years was only an experiment. Could I do it? Would it make sense? Would I like it? Then, for what reason I may never know, my purpose for writing changed. On the lowest level, I could say I just switched “I” to they in that last question. Would anyone else enjoy my writing? That’s still an experiment, you say. Ah yes, but almost immediately my attitude toward writing also changed.
No longer was it enough to see if I could write something a theoretical They might like. I had committed to learning how to write so the well-read They would like it. I committed to learning the craft of writing. I committed to learning the whats and whys and whens of writing so the quality of my work would depend on skill rather than luck.
Quite often since then, my writing litany has echoed my marriage litany –writing/editing/querying/whatever is too hard, it’s not what I expected, why am I doing this? Then I remind myself nothing worthwhile comes easy; those authors whose work I admire worked long and hard to produce it. Writing is not an experiment; writing is a commitment. And it’s another one I’m determined to honor.
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