Last week I tried to make a case for writing what you loved, rather than what you know here. This week, we’ll be taking a look at knowing what you are writing vs. loving what you write.
When you first sit down to work on a project, you are so excited, and anxious to get the story written. Then, about halfway through, most writers experience the midpoint doldrums. This is where you feel like you are writing trash, you are slogging through the material, or you are getting no where in a great big hurry. This is normal – even from someone so new to the fun, I can see how this would be normal. The shiny excitement has worn off, the newness has faded, and you are left with a project that you know has a long way to go before it is ready for others to enjoy.
Here’s where loving your work comes into play. If you are writing about a subject you love, but the project is something you don’t, then there is nothing to carry you through to the finish except sheer dogged determination. Oh, sure, there will be scenes you hate or just flat wish you could get around using. Yet, if you do, you know the rest of the work won’t be as strong as it could (or should) be. Getting through those sections will require a love of your project, along with your determination to not let them kick you out to the curb. (Or at least, keep you from kicking the project itself out to the curb.) That love will let you cannily work that irritant into the story, just so you can move on to other parts that are more fun, while protecting your dignity and sanity along the way.
Loving what you write also will show up in the final product. If you love your work, then you will probably take some extra time to make sure it glows – it has been given the edits it needs, check to make sure all the “i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed” so to speak. It will also draw you back day after day, hour after grueling hour to get those words onto the paper, so you can see how it ends. This is when you write for yourself. Don’t worry about if it’s “good enough” because you know it is. You love the story, the concept, and even the antagonist/villain to a degree. And, that love is returned in a way. When you love what you write, the characters are more complex, the plot carries with it an internal plausibility that will help the reader suspend their disbelief for the time it takes to devour your work, and it will also help carry you through the tough slog of getting your work out there for others to discover.
Yes, loving what you write is critical when it comes to the post writing efforts of marketing and publication. Unless you are one of the lucky ones that happens to hit “publish” at just the right time, with just the right story, it is a hard uphill battle to get your published project out where others can learn about it. And, the old adage “love will find a way” rings true. Loving what you write will, and often time does, give you the spark of creativity to think beyond the normal channels.
So, do you write what you love and love what you write?