Writing is an art and a passion
One of the things I hear most often as a writer of novels is "Oh, I've always wanted to write a book." or the similar, "I could do that. I could write a book if I wanted." Usually, when I hear people say this, I smile and nod and reply with something like, "Good for you!" But I'm rolling my eyes on the inside. In fact, just the other day, I was confronted by someone who said, "You should write a story about my life." As though writing is just that: a random story about a random person. But it's not. Writing is more than sitting down with an idea. It's passion. It's inspiration. It's dedication. It's finding just the right story at the right time for the right audience. Sure, there are many good stories that can be told, but not all of them need to be told.
But here's the harsh reality: Not everyone is meant to be a writer and not everyone should try. With that, not every story deserves to be a story. Many times I've sat down with an idea and have fleshed out the characters, scenes, and plot only to find out that it wouldn't sell. It's trash and I file it in my computer as such. Not all stories are for this time. Not all stories are for all people.
This isn't said to be rude or to discourage anyone but rather to be honest about the truths about writing.
The reality is writing a novel is hard. It's more than sitting down with an idea and a notebook and jotting down an interesting idea. Which is why when I hear phrases like "I could do that" or "I could write that" it makes me cringe or roll my eyes because writing a good novel takes years of practice, hard work, dedication, and determination. It's an art. An artist doesn't sit down and paint his or her first masterpiece on the first try and no one who visits the art museum is going to say, "Oh, piece of cake. I could paint that!" No one would dare say that. Why would anyone ever dare say it to a novel? People say it because anyone can sit down and type out words, but not everyone can sit down and write a good novel and not everyone should try.
When I wrote my first novel, it went through dozens of rewrites before it became the novel my readers have today. I spent years writing, rewriting, drafting, and revising. I had countless sleepless nights, tears cried, and days spent wondering if I could ever get this right. Finally, I got the first draft done. Once I did that, I hired an editor. Then I rewrote it again. It was sent out to dozens of agencies only to be rejected 142 times before finally being accepted by a publisher. Just like any other art, writing takes heart. It takes dedication. It takes determination. Each work of art is unique in itself.
Some might say, "If writing is so hard then why do you do it?"
That's my point exactly. I write for the same reason every other writer writes. It's what we love. It's not some random thing we decided to do on a whim. Or maybe it is but then it became a passion. It's our passion. It's my passion. Which is why when I hear people say, "Oh, I could do that," I get angry because writing is my passion. It's something I work hard at every single day of my life. It isn't something that I just do on the side. It's not just some random thing I do in my spare time. I am constantly thinking about writing. When I'm alone in my car, I think about my plots and my characters. When I'm in the shower, I think about my writing. On my lunch break, I'm writing. In between watching my kids' XC races on Saturdays, I'm writing or at the very least, I'm writing notes. Some people might say, "That's obsession." No. That's dedication. It's passion. It's my art. Writing is my art and passion.
© © Meg Sechrest 2023