All writers know about faith. They know what an act of faith it is to put words on a paper the first time. They know the faith it takes to search for the right word, the right phrase, the right nugget of truth that will set off their work as top-notch. Ultimately, they know the gut-wrenching faith it takes to turn their written babies over to someone who * gasp* might not like it.
Hope? There’s always hope. Even after you’ve been kicked to the curb by an agent who probably didn’t even read the first sentence of your query, hope prevails. After a few days of chocolate and Kleenexes, hope surges again. Maybe the next editor will love it, buy it, publish it, send it to be included next to John Grisham’s on the front table of every bookstore in the country. Then it will hit the New York Times Bestsellers list for 97 weeks and make you a millionaire. Don’t deny it. You know that hope is real.
One element, however, sometimes gets lost when faith and hope begin to emerge in our writing journey. That element is love. Sure, we love it, or we wouldn’t be stressing ourselves out to learn how to do it better, to find someone to publish it, and to put ourselves on the chopping block of rejection time and again. It’s almost a given that we love it. The problem is that we forget that we love it.
When we write for the love of it, every frustratingly magnificent moment is a challenge like none other. Being able to shape the ephemerally picturesque stories in our mind into something coherent and fluid is like no other experience. The very act of putting that last piece into our word puzzle has no peer for a peak experience. You know what I’m talking about, or at least you used to.
What happened is you began writing not for love but to gain love. Others—those you believe are much more knowledgeable—began to convince you to twist your writing to meet what they believe is marketable or publishable. And so you let your love for writing morph into wanting your writing to be loved… sometimes at all costs. You twisted yourself into a pretzel, learning perfect grammar, point of view, the “correct” way to write a marketable manuscript.
Learning and growing in your writing is one thing, but when that gets so tangled in the rules, that you forget why you started in the first place, that is something altogether different. Love is the key to everything in this life. As the Bible says so eloquently:
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2005
You’ll feel better for the experience!