My Writing Life

I am in the midst of writing a shiny new novel that I LOVE, and editing a novel that I used to LOVE but now just like a lot. I’m hopeful that by the time I’m done editing it, I will LOVE it again…

Have you ever been there? Falling in and out of love with your stories? The good news is:

“A bad novel is better than an unwritten novel, because a bad novel can be improved; an unwritten novel is defeat without a battle.” – Paul Johnson

Good to know. Because as soon as you type “THE END” it feels great! What an accomplishment! Then you send it out for critique. You’re amazed by all the plot holes, the uneven language and unbelievable characters. You cry. You scream. You want to crawl into a hole and die.

“Be suspicious of literary advice from anyone who consistently leaves you feeling like some subspecies of dung maggot.” – Jane Guill

A week later you realize that more than half of the advice is good. Now you just have to figure out how to apply it…

“Almost anyone can write; only writers know how to rewrite. It is this ability alone that turns the amateur into a professional.” – William C. Knott

Of course, you still have to keep up with daily life: feeding the family, doing the laundry, maybe even a day job. Something has to give…

“Women with clean houses do not have finished books.” – Joy Held

Excellent! That extra ring around the toilet is justified! But then you have all the well meaning friends asking when they can buy your book at Borders. You have, after all, been working at this for more than a year. And they’ve seen your bathroom. You hang your head in shame. Why don’t they understand?

“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

To all my writing friends, I’m so glad that you’re here and you DO understand.

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

And now I’m going back to my hole…to write.

30 thoughts on “My Writing Life

  1. Wow, you got me with the Paul Johnson quote. Today, I was feeling like my novel sucks and I suck and why do I think I can write and blahblahblah. Giving up isn't the answer, I just need to work to make it better.
    In fact, all these quotes are super. Thanks, Sherrie, I'm going back to my writing/rewriting and into the crit trenches.

  2. Wonderful quotes. I'm kind of at the not-liking-so-much point on my PB, but I think that's because I'm facing some revision humps. Hopefully a few days work will get me over them (and onto the next!) and loving the story again. THanks for the reminder.

  3. Yes. I've fallen in and out of love with not only my stories, but my writing. But first drafts are great because there is no negative feedback yet. And right before querying is good too – no rejections yet. 🙂

  4. Shannon: I'm so glad you understand!

    Kristi: Glad I could justify your means 🙂

    Sarah: Yes, we'll write on together!

    Anna: Happy writing to you too!

    Tricia: I really love that Paul Johnson quote. Good luck in the trenches 🙂

    Yat-Yee: No cleaning the toilet today. Just writing!

    Becky: Revisions can be depressing. Hang in there!

    Susan: You're never alone. We've all been there.

    Karen: You keep at it too!

    Kelly: Talking to other writers who get it — that's the best part about blogging!

    Jackee: Only a writer would appreciate them!

    Laura: The rejections can sting, but keep going. You can fall in love again!

    Niki: Aren't those just perfect?!

    Elana: Have at it. Glad I could offer some inspiration!

    Glam: Why thank you! I'm always happy when my brilliance is recognized 😉

  5. Love the quotes.

    And you will love your novel again. I think it's impossible to love a novel while editing it, since editing in itself is a heinous yet necessary act.

    But that's just me….

  6. You know how they have that wall art stuff, where you can post any quote you want on your walls for all to see? I'm getting the one about clean houses and finished books. I think it'll go on my family room wall.

  7. What a wonderful post! I love your quotes (of course–we've already established you and I are quote lovers)! I think I'll post this one somewhere:

    “Women with clean houses do not have finished books.” – Joy Held

    An author wrote a wonderful post about falling in and out of love with one's novel, but I can't think of who it was; I think Nathan B linked to it last year. It was hysterical–she compared it to a romantic relationship.

  8. Shelley: Heinous is right! I hope I love it again some day…

    Stina: Messy house elves work for me too!

    Rebecca: I love that one too 🙂

    Gwen: You are not slovenly. You're one of those people I envy for being productive AND clean!

    Carrie: Sounds perfect 😉

    Lori: Glad you like — I was thinking of us both when I wrote it!

    Kathryn: Unfortunately in our house, the guest bathroom is ruled by the children. Enter at your own risk!

    Dawn: So much about writing is like a romance. I'm still waiting to ride off into the sunset…!

  9. I love, love, love that last quote from Hawthorne. It's just not easy folks. I want to tell it to everyone I meet who says oh I should write a book too. It is HARD work. Great post. =)

  10. oh, yes, yes, I know exactly what you mean. I LOVED my lastest novel as soon as I finished, but then went back to work with my editor on first novel, that I was less enamoured with – until I finished the edits and now love again. So keep at it!

  11. T.Anne: Amazing how many people want to write a book, eh? We're actually doing it. Big difference!

    Terry: Glad you fell back in love. I think I will too 🙂

    Suzanne: Yeah, I should probably post that quote in my bathroom!

    LiLa: If only! Alas, publishing doesn't work anywhere near that fast!

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