Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Writing is easy...

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -Gene Fowler (1890-1960).

Obviously, Good 'ole Gene left something out. I would assume he banged his head against the manual typewriter, or quill, before the drops formed. I find it a bit more difficult to manifest the drops of blood with our new technology, with rounded edges and more forgiving surfaces. So, I have glued a nail to my keyboard, pointed side up...and use that to self flagellate into procuring actual blood. What is a writer without a bloody keyboard? A lazy and non pious one!

I kid, really, no nail anyway...but I have found myself pacing, pulling hair, moving post-it's around on my storyboard, pacing some more before receiving an amazing epiphany, only to sit down and start banging it out and realizing. It doesn't work. That's when the head meets the keyboard in timed sequence begins...again!

Sometimes I wonder why my soul chose this profession to be the "passion". Why couldn't accounting, or law, or plumber have been "the ONE"? I knew a boy who always wanted to be a fireman. He never wavered from his goal, ever. He grew up, went to college, went to fireman school, became a fireman, met a woman, had two point two children....retired and became an arson investigator and never once questioned himself or his decisions. He's freaking even happy! If we were really smart, we would not even entertain the thought of this right?

Someone asked me once why I wanted to be a writer and I answered honestly, "It's not that I want to be a writer...it's just that I am. I have to write." It would be nice though, if I could make a living at it! Do you feel the same?

Perhaps Thomas Berger said it best, Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.

Isn't it kind of an awesome feeling to face a blank sheet of paper? Knowing that you can create a whole world, an entire cast of characters and a myriad of situations on it? YOU create an alternate universe...the trick is to make your inner fantasy believable and real to someone else. You must make other's care as much for your protagonist and consorts as well as make them fear, despise, or dislike your protagonist and company. Therein lies the challenge n'cest pas?

I often miss my characters when I don't have the time to get back to them and let them finish telling me their story. I've listened to successful writers tell me that you must absolutely control your characters and know the end of your story before you get there. In many ways, I agree. I know "tentatively" where I want the story to end up...but once my characters develop their own personalities...I find it hard to get them there just exactly the way I had envisioned. I have to make allowances for them. Yes, I control the keyboard, but there comes a point when the characters just cannot do what I originally wanted them to so in a sense. I create, throw some ink on the screen and my fictional characters and I finish together...everything I write is a collaboration with fictional people in the end! (call the men in little white coats!) As a reader, though, nothing turns me off more than a character who is set up, three dimensional, and then does something crazy just to move the story forward. My characters wouldn't stand for that!

I don't know why anyone would think our chosen passion is easy. They've obviously never tried it I suppose. But let me totally blow that observation out of the water here: Writing is easy. Simple as breathing. You just do it.

What I've learned though, is writing well enough to be considered for publication is a long, slow, arduous process and seems to take more practicality than creativeness. Part of it I know, it IS a business. At times I feel like an athlete that loved the game until it became a job.

But, regardless...I can't/won't quit. And all of you guys in "the group" have been so amazing keeping me motivated, positive and optimistic. You wipe the blood off my forehead and share your foibles and triumphs and without your support and enthusiasm...I'd be doing this all alone! I've been doing it alone for years and years and now that I've found y'all....I realize I'm not the only crazy dreamer still free!

I'll end with this. It's hard, it's frustrating, it's joyous and moving and fulfilling and it's the only thing I want to do. I hope someday to be able to earn the right to call it my only "job". Because there is nothing, to me, more fulfilling than to hit "the end" of my story. And nothing more challenging to rewrite the whole durn thing! (and make it better!) I've never given birth, but in a way, I think it might feel something like it. To hold the pages, measure their heft, and know I'm holding a world and a person(s) that I created. That has a beginning, a muddle, and an end! And hopefully people you can care about and root for and learn from.

I just want to tell stories...that's all. Unfortunately being a bard is no longer an option and I didn't' make enough being a court jester...so into the business I try to go....bloodied forehead, cramped fingers and aching neck! All of which, I could not do with you!

Thanks for listening to my writer's rant!



DJ said...

Thanks Robin, I love it!

Solard said...

Grrr. Late with my comments! This is good stuff Robin! Girl, I know you's tired, but somewhere, somehow, you gotta have some little eensy bit of time in which to write something -- even if it's just a paragraph a day. I'm sorry if I'm pinning you to the wall in front of everyone (and I will find a way to delete this comment if you want), but you have been on a roll -- don't want to see you let it go. much hugs ~Solard