So, how does Thursday's essay relate to writing?
- Just like you have to think of yourself as a thin person in order to be one, you have to think you're a writer in order to be one.
If you call yourself a teacher or mother or volunteer or whatever, that's how you see yourself. Those roles are where you'll put your focus and energy. And you won't get much writing done because being a writer isn't in your list of who you are. You have to add writer to your list.
- Just as you have to see your true image in the mirror in order to be successful with weight loss, you have to see yourself the way you are in order to write honestly.
If you're hiding from the dark parts of your soul or hiding them from your readers, your writing will be "fluffy bunny". Nice doesn't catch people's attention. But dark does. Dark is where the conflict comes from. It's where your themes come from. I tried writing nice and I was bored. Good thing I didn't inflict that on any readers. I had to learn to kiss the monsters, a term my online writing group uses to identify the things you don't want to write about, but are the most powerful things you could write about. That's where honesty as a writer comes from, the hard places.
- Just as permanent weight loss takes time, so does creating and selling a publishable novel.
People want their novel, their first novel, finished--now. And sold and in the bookstores. More people want to have written a novel, and have it out there being bought and bringing in the bucks, than want to sit down and write the story. But neither writing a novel nor the process of publication is fast. If you need to be rewarded quickly for your work, don't become a novelist. It's a rare person who can write and sell a novel, first time out. Most published writers have more than one sitting in a drawer or on a hard drive somewhere that will never sell. You have to take the time to write the practice novels, where you go from beginner to publishable, plus the time to acquire an agent, plus the time it takes the agent to sell the book, plus the time it takes for the publisher to get it onto the shelves. Add that all up and you have a long, slow process. Weight loss seems easier and faster. (grin)
- Just as you have to "use it or lose it" to get and stay in shape, a writer needs to write regularly or you "lose" it by becoming blocked.
If you don't write, you "forget" how. Now you don't really forget. Like riding a bike, when you get back on, you remember. But you get full of doubts about your ability to write again. You say, "I'll do it tomorrow." And tomorrow is just as full of procrastination or other things that keep you from writing as today was. You have to write regularly, if you want to be a writer. It's kind of the definition of writer. Writers write.