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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG - In it for the Long Haul





This is my December post for Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG.  To read more posts from other participants, click here.

This month, I typed the sentence above simply to get words on the page.  The insecure writer in me was feeling pretty darn tested about coming up with a topic.  Rather than stare at a blank screen, I decided to get a few words down.  Even one sentence is better than a vast field of white, right? 

In Making a Literary Life, author Carolyn See says of the practice of writing, “It’s a marriage, not a romance…”

She’s got it right.  In the almost four years since I’ve made writing a dedicated focus, I’ve learned above all, the craft takes commitment. When I first start writing regularly, I was infatuated with my words. They moved me and made me laugh and swell up inside.  I’m not kidding; I fairly twinkled with the delight of it.  I read everything I wrote again and again, spending hours at the computer tweaking what I’d written.  When I wasn’t writing, I yearned to be sitting at the desk, pounding out words.
 
That was the romance.  Now, I’m in the marriage.  I sit down for an hour and a half almost every morning and try to get some kind of writing in.  On occasion, it’s as little as a concise, well written comment on someone’s blog.  Other times, I crank out 650 words on a personal essay, a chapter edit on my current project, or a blog post like this one for IWSG.  As with anything, the routine can feel stifling.  It’s hard to do something over and over and over, and I wouldn’t be human if on occasion, the repetitive nature, the sheer demand of it didn’t get to me.  Sometimes, I think about standing up and walking away. Sometimes I do.  But I don’t go very far.  The infatuation has been replaced by something more enduring. 

Twenty-eight years ago, I walked down the aisle to my husband, having no idea of the ways in which life would test us.  We were so joyful, so naïve in our happiness.  But like every couple who remains together for a long time, we’ve journeyed through challenges and tears.  But we wake up each morning together…knowing that the promise we made to each other lasts because we choose for it to...because life without each other would be so much less. And though now we sport crow’s-feet and grey hair and are so busy we can go for days before we really talk, I still look at him and think, I choose him and he chooses me.  That’s the single best decision affecting my life.

That’s how I feel about writing.  It’s not always a dozen roses and champagne.  Sometimes it’s taking out the garbage.  But regardless of the ups and downs, writing completes me in a way I can no longer live without. I’d only be failing myself if I quit.  So when a blank page intimidates me and I wonder, “What is this all for?”  I just start.  I choose to write. 

20 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That was beautifully put, Liza. There's nothing more that I can add, because you've said it all. :)

Old Kitty said...

I love this analogy!! Thank you! Take care
x

Anne Gallagher said...

Beautiful sentiments. Great post.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You did great with the words in this post. You said it so well.

mshatch said...

I'll just echo Stina; beautifully put :)

M.L. Swift said...

I love your site. I've done that with a first sentence. Just written something to get a word down on the page. Get the juices flowing.

Good post!

E.J. Wesley said...

Love the comparison between writing and marriage, Liza! So very true. Writing is a daily 'thing'. You have to work at it, you have to want to make it better even when you think it's already okay. That's the only way to get out of it what we want.

I'm so very thrilled that you've stuck with it, like I have, all these years (think you're one of the first bloggers I ever followed btw). Your time will come, and it'll all just fit. You've worked too hard for it not to.

This is my first month in the IWSG, and I'm just making my way down the list ... and there you were! :-D Like bumping into an old friend at the supermarket. lol

Steven said...

Writing is a marriage--so true! I think there are so many who get involved in writing as a get-rich-quick scheme, and it just isn't that. Dedication is key, and I find I have to reaffirm my dedication on a daily basis.

Johanna Garth said...

That's such a great analogy. I always think of writing like yoga. You may not be able to do the cool moves at first, but if you stick with it and breathe, eventually you'll get there.

Carol Kilgore said...

Yay, you!

Truer words have never been written. I love this :)

moonduster said...

I absolutely love the analogy of our relationship with our writing as a marriage rather than a romance. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a great analogy. My last two manuscripts were at the marriage stage.

Lexie C. said...

This is so very wonderful! Commitment is the key to success in just about everything.

Very beautifully written and inspiring! :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

What a wonderful post, Liza!

Nobody said it would be easy (marriage or writing), and they both have their moments of joy and um ... (can't say drudgery, my husband might read this) ... taking out the garbage. Just like you said.

But I wouldn't give either of them up. They are too much a part of me. And apparently, a part of you, too.

Ella said...

Wow, this is beautiful! And today is my wedding anniversary!
You made me smile and tear up~
Thank you!
What a great post~ :D

Suzanne Furness said...

This is a lovely post. Writing, like marriage, is a commitment and takes work, but the benefits are well worth the effort :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Guess I'm playing parrot here and reiterating what everyone else has already said: this is a great post, and I love the analogy. Well done.

Lynda R Young said...

It would be nice if writing were a dozen roses and champagne, but it's still worth the hard work.
Yay for choosing to write!!

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh Liza! How lovely.

And what an awesome, amazing analogy. Marriage/writing. I love my hubby too even after all these years. I love him even more. I love writing even more today than when I first started. But you're right, it can be frustrating. The words don't always flow out.

I love this woman! Merry Christmas!

Joanne Bischof said...

There really are days when I don't know how I'm going to get it done and I think back on the days when I could sit and write a handful of chapters a day and now, balancing three kids with edits just seems so different! I love the feeling of accomplishment and the joy that comes for writing for Him. It really makes the writing so fulfilling :) Merry Christmas!