Love the Craft, Own the Process (Even When it Hurts)

Cynthia Herron Writing 2 Comments

For writers, there’s nothing worse than those off days—even off seasons.

They’re the ones that Wally Writer and Annie Author rarely talk about because their writing is just too picture-perfect. Everything they create is a masterpiece.

Every word they write is beautiful and filled with deep, profound meaning.

They don’t often admit mistakes because…well…they just don’t make any!

And of course, Wally Writer and Annie Author love the craft so much they never, ever tire of the writing.

They fill page after pristine page with snappy dialogue and polished prose. Words come easy and writer’s block is the fancy paperweight that sits on their desks. It’s not a state of mind. 

And they’re only too happy to share their first-hand experience because every experience is so worth sharing.

Well, bust my buttons!

Isn’t that wonderful?!

Except, my friend—I’m here to tell you that picture’s distorted.

No worries.

If you’ve ever chomped down on that mouth-watering goodness, never fear. The bread’s a little moldy and the mayo a bit warm, but the tea’s cold and sweet, and it’ll wash that silliness sandwich right on down.

Let’s face it, every writer everywhere has known his (her) fair share of tough times. The words won’t come, the story dries up, or we grow weary from the process.

It doesn’t mean we no longer love what we do.

It does mean that we can still love the craft of writing, but be exhausted from effort expended. Especially when life happens.

I’ve shared before some of my own highs and lows during this action-packed adventure, known as the writer’s life.

Here’s a quick recap:

For years, I worked long hours in another career while I desperately longed to pursue my publishing dream. It was a hard profession and one that left me physically and emotionally spent.

Just when things began to look up, one of our children developed a life-altering chronic illness. We spent about five years living in and out of hospitals. It was a grueling time, but I continued to write some. (Even on paper napkins.)

Life got good again.

I wrote more.

I wrote better.

Time marched on.

Things began to click.

One afternoon, after a back-breaking season and a lot of hard, hard work, I got the call—the one from my agent offering representation. It was the conversation I’d played in my mind for years. It was surreal and everything I’d dreamed it would be.

The very next day, my daddy suffered an aneurysm.

But he didn’t die.

A miracle.

The bad news: his leg went several hours without proper circulation. Overnight, it turned the color of purple grapes. A bad sign.

But then… God worked another miracle.

Even the surgeon couldn’t explain it. He said he’d never removed a clot that huge. Where the patient still lived.

Additional life events followed. Many good. Some unexpected.

Loss. Heartache.

Joy. New seasons.

I’ve ambled, trudged, and yes—even crawled—the path for one reason only—because I absolutely, completely, unabashedly love the craft of writing.

I love the creative process and building the story.

I love the adrenaline rush that goes with it.

I love the black moment, the ah-ha moment, and the come-to-Jesus meeting.

Sometimes it hurts. And sometimes it exhausts me, but I always love the craft.

That’s the difference that helps me connect the dots.

We should always love the craft despite how much it hurts.

And we should own it because it’s prep mode for what comes next.

(You know the one.)

Because we’re winners.

Because we’re writers.

***

PLEASE SHARE

It isn’t easy. Why do it?

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Think Wally Writer and Annie Author have it all figured out?  Think again!

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MORE ENCOURAGEMENT

Courage to Complete the Journey

Three Encouraging Thoughts for Your Journey

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

How has God refined you during your journey?

***

It’s your party!

Cry if you must, but then own it and move on!

Go, friend, go!

Blessings Always,

Comments 2

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’m not quite awake. I read, “Love the Crab, Eat the Lobster”.

    And I don’t like seafood.

    I’m not sure exactly how I feel about the writing craft, and the storytelling process. It’s something I do, but I’m so used to doing things without thinking about whether I enjoyed them or not that my sense of that has been deadened.

    There is satisfaction, sure, but it’s also the satisfaction of building a shed, or welding. I can’t say if I enjoy either of those things, either.

    Not a good thing, certainly, and not an approach I would commend to others, but it does work for me.

    What I do enjoy is an aspect of the result, the comment that what I’ve said has meant something to someone, that I’ve opened an eye, or better, a heart.

    That is, after all, why I do it.

  2. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew, I think I understand what you’re saying. When we’re exhausted and on the threshold of burnout, it’s difficult to love/enjoy the process. Been there, done that.

    I almost always love the craft, the assembling of characters and story and the unfolding of the plot. I cannot imagine losing my zest for that aspect. When I do feel overwhelmed by the road—the process (publishing journey)—I step back and take a necessary breather. I’ve learned to be in tune to specific cues. Sometimes, I’ll take a social media hiatus or writing break so I have a fresh perspective when I return.

    The craft itself excites me!

    (You don’t like seafood?! Oh. My.) =)

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