A Reminder of the Reason We Write Fiction

reminder-965820-mAs we close the first month of 2014 (wow!) and are beginning to get into our writing groove, or perhaps lose sight of any resolutions (writing-wise) that we made at the end of December, I definitely need to remind myself of the most important thing about writing: that I write for ME.

The title of my writer’s handbook is “Writing for You,” so this is a topic that I feel is critical to success in writing. Lately I’ve felt blasé about my writing. I’ve gotten away from it yet again, after making an effort to get back to my fiction and even organizing my approach to my WIP.

Part of that is a natural, and forgivable, result of lining up a full-time job (finally, yea!!!) and arranging a move. Part of it is that I’ve reached an editing phase, and I’m not as fond of editing as I am of writing first drafts. Part of the explanation, though, is that I lost focus on one major aspect of “writing for me”: I’ve overlooked what I want writing to accomplish for me.

I’ve been making time to watch some tv, after all, which means I have time I could be using to write. I’m just lacking drive and motivation.

You see, my approach to writing fiction needs to be about what the creative process does for me. How it fulfills me. For me personally, that’s more difficult while I’m editing rather than writing new material, but I can still keep some degree of focus on writing’s purpose in my life overall.

WHY I WRITE

I have always been an introspective, introverted person. Now, I can let loose and be goofy with the best of them, and I certainly love being amused by, and appreciating, the simple things in life. But I very much enjoy being philosophical. Pondering the “big stuff.”

For me, writing fiction helps me do that. That might seem odd, considering I write epic fantasy, but fantasy has a lot of opportunity to explore big questions:

  • What is human nature?
  • Why does redemption matter? What constitutes redemption?
  • What is the definition/ value of courage? Of hope, and faith?
  • What is the definition of evil, and what forms does evil takes in the world?
  • What things are important in life, and worth fighting/sacrificing for?

I believe contemplating these questions brings me to focus more on such things in my real life (though still, not to the extent I probably should): courage, sacrifice, faith, hope. That is why I always say, as a person of faith, that my fiction is part of God’s plan for me, and one of the ways He keeps me close to Him and is shaping me (I pray!) into a better person than I otherwise would be.

FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS WRITING BRINGS YOU

What you get from writing fiction, and how your fiction improves or contributes to your life, might be completely different than what I described above. None of us are identical, after all, and when you consider the different kinds of fiction we might be drawn to….

Whatever writing brings to your life that is good–whatever benefits it provides you–a major key to success in writing is to focus on those fruits when writing becomes difficult or time to write is short.

Because writing WILL get difficult. It always does.

Writing teaches us so much about the world, and about ourselves. It can be a great stress relief: an escape from the frustrations of life for an hour a day. It can even function as a kind of self-administered therapy.

However it is that writing improves your life and makes you a happier, healthier person: that’s the reason writing is worth anything. It’s the reason we authors keep writing when we’re not sure what to write, or if what we’re writing will ever amount to worldly success or even a readable draft.

Like I said, I’ve gotten to focusing exclusively on the nuts and bolts of my work-in-progress. When that happens, all I do is stress about writing, and time management, and how I’m not making enough progress. This post is a nice reminder to myself not to sweat the small stuff and to remember why I write in the first place.

When I do that, I know I can be happy just writing.

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34 responses to “A Reminder of the Reason We Write Fiction

  1. You’re absolutely right, it’s easy to lose focus on what it’s all about, why you started writing in the first place, especially when you have goals and deadlines and other such fun stuff. Thanks for (another) inspiring post!

    • glad to know I’m not alone in this…. makes sense it would tend to happen, like you say, with pressure and stress and such. Changing jobs, like I’m in the process of doing, definitely counts as stress, even if it’s not writing-related stress. Thanks!!!

  2. Excellent Post as always… & few of your words…they exactly resembled my purpose of writing —
    “Writing teaches us so much about the world, and about ourselves. It can be a great stress relief: an escape from the frustrations of life for an hour a day. It can even function as a kind of self-administered therapy.”

    Keep it UP…Keep writing…keep sharing…!!

  3. I think everyone needs to make a post like this at some point. It helps focus one’s thoughts and goals. I love your list of questions too, especially the first one. Some people seem to think a fiction author is nothing more than a daydreamer with no insight. Yet, we have to forge realistic characters and delve further into human nature than a reader might realize. It isn’t easy stepping into a villain and investigating their mindset. In fact, it can be rather draining.

  4. I really like your point about writing in a way that it improves your life, health, and happiness. 🙂

  5. Wow! I’m glad I took a minute to read this piece. Thanks for helping me get back on track.

  6. This is definitely a writing-self-love-affirmation. (I don’t know if that is grammatically correct). You must come to grips with the fact that, most times, you won’t get published/paid/acknowledged. But, in your heart, if you know you did a good job, that kind of reward can’t be bought. I’d like to repost this on my own blog. Thank you!

  7. Nicely said, Victoria! It reminds me of a quote (by Cyril Connolly) I have on my writing desk “Better to write for yourself and have no public, then write for the public and have no self.”

  8. “That is why I always say, as a person of faith, that my fiction is part of God’s plan for me, and one of the ways He keeps me close to Him and is shaping me (I pray!) into a better person than I otherwise would be.” I love this and totally get it. I think I write epic fantasy for the same reasons you do. Good luck with the editing and the move and new job. Great post!

  9. Wow..you sound the same like me! I am an introvert, thinks that writing is part of God’s plan for me, regards writing as a way of improving oneself and that fantasy leads us on a mission to explore big questions. This is definitely a great post. I wish you all the best in your future undertakings 🙂

  10. You asked yourself great questions. In fact the question of why fiction is a good one in general. I know people who look askance at fiction because they see it as a waste of time. But some of the oldest stories (and I’m thinking of biblical parables) are fiction.

  11. Elizabeth Brown

    It is, yes, and so much more–strenuous mental work out, most times. Strange, I don’t exactly think too much about how I feel about it when I’m doing it. It’s the before and after. Nice entry. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about writing. : )

  12. Pingback: January in writing | gmstorey.co.uk: Just write it already!

  13. Thank you for your timely reminder. I am in the early stages of writing a new novel, working full time and dealing with rejections from agents and trying to stay cool about them when they come. Now that you are working full time Victoria I would love to hear how you schedule your writing in.

  14. Pingback: Blogdom Jan. 15-Feb. 26, ’14 | The ToiBox of Words

  15. Pingback: 3 Ways Creative Writing Shakes Your Complacency | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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