Writing is tough.
I always have an internal chuckle at people who think that they can just sit down a write a book someday. And technically, I guess they could. The act of writing itself isn’t too hard: you sit down with a computer or a pen and paper and you start making words. Get 80,000 or so of those words collected into one place and HUZZAH! You’ve got a book!
So I amend my original statement: writing well is tough.
Writing well requires passion and sacrifice. It will make you bleed. It will make you lonely. It will keep you awake at night. People will start thinking you’re crazy–and they’ll probably be right.
So why do we do it? Everyone who is passionate about writing has a reason–even if that reason is more of an abstract concept that you can’t really put into words (which is ironic because we’re writers and words are, you know, kind of our thing…).
I write because I love the world. I love life with all it’s joy and pain and writer’s block. I love colors and music and passion and people. I try to embrace all of that with my writing, to wrap it up like a gift for someone else to open and explore. This is the world, I want to say to them. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
And sometimes, there are those golden moments where everything falls into place and your purpose as a writer meets genuine talent. Words flow through your fingers like magic–and they’re actually, you know, good. You read back over what you’ve written and wonder who you’ve plagiarized because there’s no way on earth you’re that good at writing. And as long as you don’t read anything you wrote yesterday, you think maybe, just maybe, I can do this writing thing.
I love those moments. My favorite was actually when I finished the first draft of the Last Daughter of Elhamair and everything just fell into place. The last two paragraphs are so stunningly beautiful that I must have had some divine assistance. I wish I could share them with you, but that would give too much away.
So instead, I’ll share my 2nd favorite warm fuzzy moment. This is a scene that occurs after Sameen has learned the truth about the people’s role in the rise of Narush and the downfall of her family. As always, it’s a rough draft and constructive feedback is more than welcome.
Sameen didn’t sleep well that night. Her mind would not settle to let her rest even when she grew weary of arguing with herself. When she did manage to get a few minutes of sleep in the early hours of the morning, her dreams were filled with Asreth. She saw him astride his tall bay stallion, riding across an unfamiliar wasteland under a baking sun. She woke unsettled and paced her bedroom floor until she grew tired again. When she returned to her bed, the vision repeated itself twice.
She abandoned her bed altogether before the sun even rose and wandered the hallways for several hours. Her pacing carried her to the Hall of Ancients, which she had purposefully avoided since her arrival. She walked slowly along the row of daises, reading the name inscribed on each throne. The thought of finding familiar names terrified her, but she felt compelled to look. If she could find the throne of someone she knew, perhaps things would be made clearer.
When at last she grew tired, she climbed the dais and sat on one of the couch-like thrones, curling into herself. She rested but did not sleep, and watched the light of the sun spread its way across the marbled floor of the hall.
Elhamair found her there well after dawn. He came as silently as a dream and stood at the foot of the dais for a long while before speaking.
“You will not find them here, Sameen,” he said gently, his voice like a memory in her ears.
Sameen had known this, yet to hear him say it brought a sense of sadness and regret. “Isn’t this where we can come for guidance and wisdom from those who have gone before?” she asked, surprised by how small and childlike her voice sounded.
Elhamair nodded. “Yes. But it is not from the dead themselves that we gain what we seek. We learn from their living acts—the legacy their lives have left for us. We gain wisdom by remembering.”
Sameen said nothing and looked down at where her hands were clasped around her knees, which she had tucked up under her chin.
“You’ve made your decision?” He said it like a question, but Sameen heard it as a confirmation of her own thoughts and nodded.
Elhamair stepped onto the dais and joined her on the couch. “I am proud of you for this decision,” he said. “I know how difficult it is for you.”
“I’m so frightened. I just wish we could know for certain things will work out and that we’re not just fighting in vain.”
“When you fight for a worthy cause,” Elhamair said seriously. “You are never fighting in vain. Battles may be lost, even entire wars, but in the end, evil designs will fail and tyrants fall. The timing may not always be what you hope it would be, but good things have a way of working themselves out.”
“You know, that doesn’t really make me feel any better,” Sameen sighed.
Elhamair chuckled. “No, I suppose it wouldn’t. But know this: ignorance of the future gives you power. Great power demands great sacrifice, and sacrifice given with a perfect knowledge of the outcome is not a true sacrifice. Your efforts will be backed by strength and power beyond your own only when you willingly give of yourself with nothing more than the hope that it will be enough.”
Lately, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to write–and mostly because I just don’t think I’m all that good. But it’s nice to have an excuse to pat myself on the back every once in a while and to know that sometimes I can string a decent sentence together. So I owe a big thanks to Juliana Brandt for organizing the blogfest. What a great way to embrace the challenge of writing with other people who understand. We really should do that more often.
What are your reasons for writing? And what is your favorite Warm Fuzzy writing moment?