November 5, 2011

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Whenever I start a new story I am full to the brim with warm fuzzies. All I can think about is my shiny new idea and how much I love it. I fantasize that this one will the THE ONE, the story that tips me over the wall between aspiring author me and published author me. I think about it non-stop, write with abandon, giggle over my own cleverness and generally make everyone around me sick with my constant declarations:
I LUV this story.
This is IT, people, be ready!
 No one has ever loved their book idea more than me—isn’t it adorable?
Annnnd then I hit page fifty or so and the first hiccups in my love story start to happen. I tell myself it’s a fluke, I’ll overcome whatever tiny plot problem is niggling at me. After all, this is my Pooky Bear. I don’t give up on things that I love. I huddle over my computer, whine just a little and get back to work.
Enter page one hundred where my story burps and grows an enormous gut and demands that I do all the heavy lifting while he just sits around watching CSI reruns. I begin to wonder what I ever saw in him. I start to resent his oversized middle and underdeveloped manners. I start to wonder what it would be like to kick him out for awhile so I can go out with the girls and explore my other options. In other words, I toy very seriously with the idea of quitting him.
But then somewhere after page one hundred but before page two hundred and fifty, I remember something important, something true. Love isn’t everything when it comes to writing a novel. Heck, love isn’t even half of it. Dedication, perseverance, tenacity—these are what drive me all the way to the finish line. Because although love is what gets me started, it very rarely carries me through. Novel writing isn’t a honeymoon. It’s hard work filled with far more middlin to low moments than high-flying ones.
So why do it?
Because I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Because it is my way of taking in the world, exploring it, and making sense of it.
Because even with the middlin’ to low moments it still beats any other job I’ve ever attempted.
Because almost always the love reignites at the end once I’ve put in the time and effort it requires—only now it no longer resembles a fleeting infatuation. It is a full-bodied love, one that is far more satisfying than its predecessor.
Because deep in the core of me I am a writer.
Because love isn’t really love at all until you’ve had to fight for it.

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