Writing is a lifelong relationship. As with any lifelong relationship, you must work to keep it alive. Yes, maintaining passion and dedication comes easy in the first-blush years of creativity. Once you discover the “work” side of the equation, this becomes the time frame where you make critical decisions. As in any relationship where growth does not happen, troubles and discouragements set in.
Every person I know approaches their relationships in slightly different manners. So too writing. General patterns of success, however, tend to be common among the serious writers who persevere in a tough industry. What follows are some similarities between relationships and writing.
Writing is your lover. That person you think about in idle conversations and mundane tasks. The excitement you feel when you’re away from her translates into incredible hours of intimacy when reunited. Words and phrases, sentences and paragraphs become caresses which thrill, and you walk away from times of consummation temporarily sated and spent.
Like relationships, as a writer you experience well-meaning friends and family who tell you she’s not right for you. She has no future. Some lie to save your feelings. You struggle with insecurities and doubts. Your reality check moments may often look bleak and you wonder whether you can continue moving forward. Yet, something inside drives you. Your love for her will not be denied. You think of her day and night. You often stop at nothing to meet with her again.
Her attributes reveal stunning beauty. She’s intelligent. Thought provoking. Hilarious. Serious. Fanciful. Frightening. Innocent. Vulgar. Whimsical. Spontaneous. She’s the companion of a lifetime. She’s hateful. Spiteful. Self centered. She balks like a literary mule. She’s gentle. Kind. She will bend to your will yet when she takes over and you set yourself aside, she reveals how to truly soar. You never quite understand her yet you feel you’ve known her all your life.
Writing not only involves a personal relationship, writing also becomes a business partnership. Typically this aspect of the relationship, much like those relationships with people, plays out as a lovely minefield meadow. Writing’s pristine beauty gets marred by everything from financial difficulty landmines to self confidence explosions. Writing indeed becomes work. This is where many, if not most, writers who give up struggle and fall, collateral damage to money’s tainting of what was thought to be a pure relationship.
Those who do succeed find ways to manage and balance this life of creativity and business. In fact, the business side of writing often thrives on creative schemes and efforts. Writers who learn to fuse creativity and passion with marketing and business often find success. Writers must learn to embrace the difficult with the heavenly. The highs and lows of writing play out most often within the writer’s heart and mind. The external revelations others glean about what’s happening with a writer rarely ever come close to accurate assessments.
My observation of my writing relationship does not necessarily coincide with all other authors. In fact, my views likely differ from many. The same can be said for every single committed writer out there. Writers often agree on many basic points of how the writing relationship works – on the surface. Further examination and comparing of notes finds each writer differing on the roots and procedures of how the writing relationship works. What a crazy mixed up craft in which we live and breathe words to the world.
Then, there’s the readers. Those lovely folks who lift our wings on thermals which help us soar. They also shoot us down like worthless scavenger birds who don’t deserve to live. We dress our writing up for the world ball. Our grand preparations of rewrite and edit attempt to adorn our writing as bejeweled magnificence. As writers, we desire to be seen as the ultimate couple. Inseparable. Iridescent. Stunning. Compatible. In love.
Most often, writers and our craft wear the emperor’s clothes, tattered-story jeans, dirty character socks, plot line shoes with holes and shirts stained by our appetite for self indulgence. Yet we love each other in this marriage of passion. Like human relationships, we desire others to accept us. We’re disappointed when criticized. Often, anger chokes our throats when exposed to the distorted public mirror reflections.
Ultimately, our relationship relies solely on the work we’re willing to put into our relationship. Those reality checks in the public eye sting more from their truth than their lies. One day, should we find the fortunate grail of discernment, we realize we will never please everyone. How people outside our relationship view us identifies our markets. Those who resonate with our words, our breathings, our life as a writing entity, two joined as one, will be the ones who carry us forward in a business sense.
Our real work, what we must constantly do each day, comes down to growing as a couple. We learn how to bloom, prosper, flower, seed, grow. While the accolades of masses of people who rally to our writing is important to us, ultimately we must find our personal relational truth and keep our love alive within us. For when a writer sits down with creativity and purposes to harness some of her amazing colors, emotions, informations, passions, a melding takes place that no reader, critic, nor naysayer could ever understand or fathom.
Writing. Passionate lovemaking, sometimes awkward, at times sloppy, often exhilarating, and, at least for this writer, when completed, the air that I breathe defines much of who we are. Should you endeavor to enter into nuptials with writing, remember your vows of for better or worse. Know this relationship will require work. Know there will be those who pan you like you’re a complete idiot. Know that business will become a significant factor. Know you will need to change, learn, adjust, and most definitely grow over the course of your lifetime. You will never reach a plateau where you need no longer do these things, for if you get to that point, your relationship likely will falter and you will grow apart.
Stride boldly into your relationship. Admire writing’s beauty every day. Embrace her flaws. Learn to love her crazy ways. Commit to rolling up your writing sleeves and work on your relationship. Take vacations together. Take days off together. Live for each other. Become one.