Thursday, August 15, 2013

Enthusiasm Versus Chores

I wrote recently about how I started Homecoming over.  One of the biggest reasons for that was that the novel was starting to feel like a grind rather than a joy.  I'd started to dread sitting down to my computer each day, and that definitely wouldn't have produced a great product.

Let me be straight - if you don't love what you write, you will fail at being an author.  Most readers can sniff out work for which the writer had no enthusiasm.  If you ever want a real example of this, go into any college writing course that students have to take to graduate, and read their most recent assignment.  Once you get past the grammar and shallow mistakes made by most everyone who is young - sorry, that's not meant as an insult, but just as a fact of life...most people who are young don't write very well, although there are exceptions - you'll easily be able to see who loved the assignment and who was hoping to get out of the class with a passing grade.

When we trudge through work, we leave things out.  Our descriptions are inadequate, and our characters lack depth.  If there's something I'm writing because I have to, and not because I want to, I breeze past things and give no effort to striking an emotional chord.  And when I look back at it, I can tell that I did it only because someone made me(even if that someone is me).

On the other hand, when I'm into writing something, the emotional notes jump out from the page.  When I read a piece from someone who was into it, I can sense the excitement and care coming from it.  It becomes a page turner.  People want to read these things, and they'll seek out more.

This is why it's so important we're invested in our writing.  Authors who pump out novel after novel that they write just to have something out there will usually not find success.  That's a big reason why I take breaks when I'm feeling burned out.  My enthusiasm for my work has to be present or my best work doesn't show itself.  I'm sure some writers could get away with that, but the vast majority can't.
(Spread your wings)
I've been presented several ideas for novels that I was like, "meh."  I'm sure the ideas are fine, but I wasn't the one to write them because I wouldn't have done a good job.  The best stories are the ones I've been fantasizing about in my mind for a while and want to play out.  This keep me into the game and lets people feel the writing instead of enduring it.

Enthusiasm is the key.  How else did Tom Sawyer get that fence whitewashed?

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