“That must be so much fun!”
That’s the response I can expect when I tell someone I’m a writer. And they’re absolutely right—writing is a lot of fun. If you enjoy the hair-pulling, brain-busting, making-things-up-out-of-thin-air kind of fun. Just kidding. Sort of.
The truth is, there are days that writing goes smoothly and the words click out of my fingertips almost faster than I can keep up with them. But then there are days (far more than I’d like to admit) where my fingers barely move as I stare at the blank screen for minutes (and sometimes hours) at a time. Those staring days are not quite as fun as the others. And for me, they usually happen during the first draft stage. First drafts and I are not friends.
In fact, the only way I get through writing a first draft is by promising myself that once it’s done, I get to go back and revise it. For me, revision is where the magic happens—where my jumble of mixed-up, nonsensical words becomes a story with living, breathing characters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot of work—and a complete mess as I cross out entire scenes, make notes to move something 200 pages farther into the book, draw arrows up, down, and all around, and scribble so quickly that I can’t read my own scrawl—but it’s an energizing, exciting kind of work. Especially when I look at the end result and wonder how the crazy, contradictory ideas from my first draft have become a story that actually makes sense and has meaning.
But as much as I love revising, I know that other authors love drafting (I’m not here to judge!). So I thought I’d ask the other Inspy authors about their favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process. Here’s what they had to say:
“My favorite part of the writing process is brainstorming a new story! Anything is possible, I’m not yet worried about things like pacing or grammar, and my characters can tell me what they have to say! (Yes, us authors are a bit weird and totally chat with our characters!)” -Teresa Tysinger
“I love and hate all the parts. Some books are like well behaved children while others are uncooperative rebels! I love brainstorming and getting to know my characters. The rest changes with the book’s behavior.” -Jaycee Weaver
“There are moments where I love and moments when I hate each part. And they come and go without any seemingly rational explanation. So I pray and power through until I can love it again.” -Elizabeth Maddrey
“The only thing I can say is I hate writing. I love to have written. The process is messy, but I love the ending. I like editing what I have written.” -Merrilee Whren
“I hate to brainstorm. Outlining is the hardest part. You know, actually coming up with the idea takes a lot of thought. Then I love writing the first draft, and I really love revising. Probably because I feel closer to the finish line.” -Mandi Blake
“I love the first draft because I just write whatever comes out. It feels the most natural and fun. I hate revising, not because I think it was perfect the first time (it never is), but because that’s when I stress over every detail and worry that it’s not any good. It also makes me nervous when I change something, because I feel like it’s going to affect everything else and I’m afraid I will forget to change that same detail in another spot in the story.” -Hannah Jo Abbot
“I enjoy writing the beginning of a book. Anything after that is not fun. Except for when I type ‘the end.'” -Liwen Ho
“I love to write the first draft, except when I hate it, which happens for at least the middle third(ish) of each story. I don’t love OR hate revising. I just do it!” -Valerie Comer
“I love diving into the first draft. Nothing better than seeing where the characters will take me or how the story will develop.” -Toni Shiloh
At the end of the day, whichever parts of the writing process we love, love to hate, or just flat-out dread, I think all the authors here would agree that there’s nothing we would rather do. That’s why, when someone says, “That must be so much fun,” I give an emphatic nod and thank God once again for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream of being a writer. Hair pulling and all!
Your turn: I’d love to know, is there something you love to do (most of the time) but that has it’s hard or less enjoyable parts too? Just a note that I’ll probably be a bit delayed in replying to comments, as we’re on the road today, heading for Texas to go house hunting. Watch for my post next month, all about moving (and books, of course!).