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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Commitment

Our local Sunday paper had an interesting article called ‘The work and art of writing: Muscle vs. Muse’. The author, Joe Kurmaskie, contacted different authors to see which approach they used. He writes, “Without exception, generous amounts of coffee enter the equation, and divine inspiration packaged as an entire book waiting to be channeled strikes no one.” Here's the article. I know we’ve talked about muscling through the writing process before, but it does bear repeating. Especially if you’re a forty-something writer with a fairly full plate who’s been procrastinating new writing a lot. *ahem* A whole lot.

I think I can safely say that every writer I know, have met, or have heard talk about this subject – every one – considers themselves to be a writing athlete. They don’t write for the muse, they keep going no matter what. That doesn’t mean that they don’t pay attention when a story idea appears in their heads, it just means that this is a job, pure and simple. It’s the difference between a local running club and the Olympic trials, between talking about a secondary degree and actually enrolling, between dating and getting married. It’s about commitment.

After finishing my first book, I think I’ve spent a wee bit too much time patting myself on the back and waiting for everyone to fall at my feet in awe of my accomplishment. Can you see me rolling my eyes here? (I think I sprained my eyelids. Ouch.) So I’m refocusing on my commitment to this rollercoaster ride of a calling, and thinking back to what made me decide to do this in the first place.

Let’s all renew our vows, so to speak. What made you realize you had committed to writing? What makes you continue to be committed to this wacky journey? And should we all be committed for thinking we can do this? *g*

4 comments:

Gerb said...

We should be committed. Yes!

A long time ago, an author I respected said you have to respect your writing time because no one else is going to respect it for you. When I finally made the decision that I was going to consistently carve out the time to write - and informed my family that I would be doing so - I knew that I had turned a corner in terms of commitment. I had pounded my chest and demanded the time to pursue my dream, so I had no choice but to be active in that pursuit!

A deadline is also a very potent motivator...

Julie O'Connell said...

And I'll answer my own post, 'cause I love seeing my own words in print. *hee hee*

I realized that I had made a commitment when I started spending money on conferences, and when I paid attention to what I learned there. Then I actually made time to write, which is a big deal in my world. And when my husband offered to buy a laptop for me to write with...well, I was a goner.

What keeps me committed to writing is my amazing, wonderful, supportive, tough, and fabulous critique group. My family is proud of me and supports me, too, but these five women keep me going and keep me as sane as I can be. They've walked where I'm walking, they've experienced all the highs and lows I hope to. I couldn't do anything (and I didn't) without them. GUSH, y'all.

Nicole said...

Julie,
I, too, spent a lot of time patting myself on the back after I finished my first novel. So I definitely know where you're coming from!
I'll join the commitment ceremony...and second your comment that this amazing group keeps me committed, too. :-)

Ginger said...

Great post, Julie.

Like you, I knew I was committed when I spent the money to attend my first major conference. Then after that, when I would tell people "I'm a writer" instead of, I like to write or I write. No, I wanted the definition of being a writer.

Now I want to be a published one. *s*

Ginger