On Having Written

On Having Written

Don’t like to write, but like having written.

I found this quote and the corresponding investigation into where it came from the other day while meandering through the internet.

Turns out, this quote is first attributed to the writer Frank Norris in the early 1900’s. He also mentioned a few other things that set off my writer alarms — such as agonizing over the first draft, and barely revising thereafter (isn’t that what we’re not supposed to do according to every writer manual ever, and perhaps most importantly, NaNoWriMo?????) — but hey, maybe writer norms were looser in the early 20th century.

I like this quote for a lot of reasons. For a writer to say this, it seems almost paradoxical. How can you hate writing if you’re a WRITER, I can hear all the non-writers screaming. Writing is essentially the most important thing we do. It’s a delightfully confusing conundrum.

But I like this quote also because I identify with it. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I hate the act of writing, because when I enter the flow state, writing is my favorite thing in the entire world. Mostly because I feel on top of the world, insanely talented, and more productive than an undercover ninja businesswoman. (To clarify: someone who is both undercover ninja AND businesswoman seems to me they’d get a lot done, am I right?)

But the day-to-day writing? That, I’m not so fond of. The ‘nose to the grindstone’-style writing is hard for me, and I do harbor hesitance and every variety of procrastination for this particular task.

Somewhere between flow state and avoiding writing, I do manage to pump out works of fiction. And then I begin revising, which is a process I love significantly more than the act of writing. For me, I think once everything is set, on paper, outlined, characters clear, motives emerging, that’s when I really groove with the writing process. I don’t like the stark unknown at the beginning of projects. But that’s just me.

And when those babies go to press, that’s when I absolutely, unequivocally, hands-down LOVE having written.

What about you guys? Do you hate the act of writing, or love it, or somewhere in between? What’s your favorite part of the process? Tell me below and enter to win a copy of my short story, “Carlos and Casey”! I’ll pick a random winner by Christmas Eve!

Tell Ember all about it...

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