Welcome to our fourth installment of Monday motivation! This is a one-month interlude of motivational fun, as I’m doing some traveling and unable to write the regular bi-weekly news column. Enjoy! Regular Lit Mag News news roundups will resume in August.
A great article, Becky! I’ve never been able to write well to a prompt, one of those “here’s the theme, you have xx days to come up with a story” things. Anything I’ve tried to produce to those kinds of deadlines comes up a dud--the striving for acceptability becomes a wall that blocks magical imagination. I’ve found that I can only write what I love. Anything else becomes just a chore.
It's an old, old saying, going back to the ancient Greeks, but more important than ever in our super-hyper, and sadly superficial age: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Write what comes out of your soul, and for every other soul it touches, a little miracle happens. Don't worry if others 'approve': fame, status, money, none of that really matters in the eyes of Eternity.
I have been known to both fist-pump and chair dance whilst writing.
Thanks for this—rings very true for me. In my current projects, I have stopped writing to create something others might like—stopped over-editing and rewriting and wringing my own voice out of my own writing.
This comes at exactly the right time. An editor asked me questions about a story and I've been struggling answer them. As a result the story is stalled. I have to go back to the fun I had writing it first... It reminds me of what I heard the winner of the British Open say in response to a reporter's question: "What changes have you done with your putter?" (because the guy was scoring amazing), and he said "I'm not answering this question". Don't debunk the magic, folks!
Thanks for putting into words what has been on my mind recently regarding my own writing. In other words, let go of the reins and free fall into why you have always loved about putting pen to paper. The joy is still there. Trust that she is.
I enjoy everything I write one way or another, and that was true even when I was writing reviews under tight deadlines for a handful of newspapers and magazines. A writer I know once said that her greatest pleasure was "putting one word next to another." I totally get that. The act of creation is always fascinating and fun, even if I end up scrapping something or when finished, it doesn't find a home. It's like Seurat in "Sunday in the Park with George" painting and singing "Look I made a hat--where there never was a hat!"
I understand that there are writers who find the process of writing a torment in one way or another, but that's never been my story--perhaps because my mother encouraged my writing from the get-go. As it turns out, the first thing I published in the pandemic was about discovering her published work I never knew about: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/community/articles/my-mothers-secret-holocaust-memoirs
Wonderful, Becky. Thank you for articulating what most of us have felt at one time or another. I have found in my own writing that the more I edit and revise, the more dead the piece often feels to me. On the other hand, some of my best writing has been the result of multiple revisions. So it seems to me if one is writing to be published, one must give up some of that wild ecstatic freedom that comes in writing something exactly the way you want to, and do the hard laborious writing that publication demands.
This was beautiful and important. Thank you!
Yep, agree! That's all there is that we can control. ❤️
I read this at the right time.
Thank you for this post. I've been feeling this way since sometime now and I had no idea what was wrong. May be I'm taking it seriously...ever since my debut novel got published and that's why things are not fun anymore.