November is NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month. Writers work daily to finish a 50,000 word book by the last day of the month.
November is NaBloPoMo – that’s National Blog Post Month. A post a day, every day.
Today, November 15th, is National I Love To Write Day. I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. As much as I am believer in the power of creative habit, I’ve yet to take that sort of plunge.
The tenth anniversary of ILTWD. While I think it’s a great reason to write, it has me thinking about why I write.
I love to write and spent most of my life aware it was what I wanted to pursue as a career. Like most work in the arts, the best advice is that if you can live without it, do something else. Writing work is uncertain and inconsistent and luck and timing play a greater role than talent and experience ever will. I can’t live without it.
I love to write because it’s an excuse to be a lifelong student. I am forever learning, reading, watching and collecting information – be it for character development for a script or facts for an article. It never stops.
I love to write because we live in a time where there is so much to write about and so many ways to share those words. For every writer who disregards a blogger, it is well worth it to brush up on history. With every new way of delivering media – from Gutenberg to Google – there were those who said that the old ways were better. That the new would destroy civilization as we knew it. No doubt, some things are destroyed along the way, but new ideas are also born. (Sometimes better ones.) Embracing the new doesn’t mean I lose respect for the old. In fact, I think it helps me better appreciate what I love and find how new technology can enhance my life. I still love paper and pens, bound books and magazines, but I can’t begin to count the ways my life as a writer is enhanced by the web.
I love to write because I am forever surprising myself. I wanted to write fiction for The New Yorker and screenplays for the Weinsteins. I never imagined I would also want to write about social media ethics and start conversations round a cyber Algonquin Round Table. I love to write If Emily Posted because I am passionate about how we evolve as creators online. It is important to me to examine the ways life in front of screens enhances my days (and limit the ways it disrupts them).
I love to write online, in print, on the back of a cocktail napkin (never, ever disregard the amazing ideas scribbled on scraps of paper in unexpected moments). I also hate it. Hate when the words don’t flow, when the script deal that looks promising falls through, when the pitch isn’t perfect, when the work is slow, when the check isn’t in the mail. But the love outweighs the frustrations. There is an exhilarating feeling when I know how a story that seemed scattered begins to take shape. An awesome Goldilocks sort of sense when a last line has been reached and a story seems just right.
“I hate writing. I love having written,” Dorothy Parker said.
Perhaps it’s time for National I Love Having Written Day. It would be parade-worthy. We can make confetti out of shredded drafts and sashes made from our finest work. And we can spend time celebrating what we do, but not actually doing it. Because that’s what writers do best.