A Good Day

We writers spend a lot of time talking and posting about the difficulties of what we do.  Storytelling is hard.  Writing books is hard.  Finishing them can be darn near impossible sometimes.  At least it can seem that way.  In addition to posting at this site, I’m also a co-founder of and a regular contributor to MagicalWords.net, a blogsite devoted to the craft and business of writing.  And I can tell you that my fellow bloggers and I complain about the process and the publishing business all the time.  It’s not that we don’t love to write.  It’s just that this is a challenging profession in many ways.

But not today.  I know I’m tempting the writing gods by typing these words.  I don’t care.  Today I am feeling the sheer joy of being a writer.  I’m in the middle of writing a new book.  Not the absolute middle — I’m maybe 40% finished.  By the middle I mean that vast expanse of book between the opening chapters and the “stirring conclusion.”  And I’m having a blast.  The book is flowing in ways I never dreamed possible just a few weeks ago.  I’m making my target word counts for each day with ease.  Today I went more than three pages over what I was shooting for.  I don’t have the thing outlined in a detailed way.  Right now I don’t need to.  Each day new ideas come to me, one building on the last and carrying me directly to the next.  There is more story here than I thought — if that’s not a problem every writer wants to have, I don’t know what is.

I’m not writing this to brag, even if it sounds that way.  I’m writing it because I think that sometimes it’s good for us writers to remind ourselves, and those who listen to what we say, that there is joy and fun and satisfaction to be found in this craft.  The hard times are real.  I’m sure that before this book is finished I’ll face an existential crisis or two.  I tend to get a bit manic when writing a book, and I will careen from euphoria to abject self-doubt in a matter of days.  Sometimes hours.  But the enthusiasm that’s carrying me along right now is why I write in the first place.  Like all of us, I sometimes struggle with narrative and character and pacing and all the other ingredients of good storytelling. (Did I mention that this is hard?)  But I deal with those rough patches, those weeks of slogging, because I know that when I get past them I’ll have days or weeks like this.

Creativity is its own reward.  For all I know, this book, when it’s finally done might tank commercially and critically.  There’s not much I can do about that.  I sit here today and I write the best book I can.  If it does well, great.  If not, it’s still the best work I could do at the time.  And though it’s depressing to face a bad royalty statement or read a negative review, I expect that when and if they appear, I’ll already be in the middle of a new project, feeling about it the way I do today about my work-in-progress today.

The point I’m trying to make is this:  I love to write.  I want to be successful, but success comes in many shapes and forms.  Unfortunately, the kinds of success that are most easily measured tend to be those that we don’t define ourselves.  Today though, right now, success is mine to define.  I got a bunch of pages written today.  Good pages.  Pages I will absolutely keep.  And I had a blast writing them.  That’s a great day, a successful day.  And none of us needs to be a bestseller or an award-winner to have that kind of success.

What about you?  Tell us what you wrote today that made you feel successful, that made you say, “God, I love being a writer!”

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There are 4 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Ryl

    David, there’s nothing boastful in this delightful post — if anything, it reads more like appreciation and gratitude.

    “I tend to get a bit manic when writing a book, and I will careen from euphoria to abject self-doubt in a matter of days.”

    And that sounds just like falling in love,… :D

  2. 2. L. Jagi Lamplighter (Wright)

    >’m not writing this to brag, even if it sounds that way.

    It does not come over as bragging, David. It comes over as joy!!!

    Something must be in the air. My writing blog yesterday on an entirely different topic included several paragraphs just about the joys of writing. ;-)

    But you are entirely right. It is important to remind people that writing is glorious. It is worth it. We do it because we loved it not because we have to. Everything else is icing (even if some of it, like getting paid, is important icing.)

  3. 3. David B. Coe

    Ryl and Jagi, thank you. Glad to know that the post came across as I intended. Ryl, yes, there is definitely some aspect of “falling in love” in the creative process, particularly when it’s flowing the way it should.

    Jagi, the icing is important. And yet there are times when it is far and away my least favorite part of what I do. What a joy it would be just to write, without worrying about sales and the rest. I need a patron (or a matron) who will just support me and let me . . . Oh, wait. I have one. She married me.

  4. 4. Lawrence

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post! Your joy certainly comes through, and I agree that we must measure success as we find it. The best point: “Creativity is its own reward.”
    I couldn’t agree more. I have always been creative but only recently decided to do anything about it. Finishing my first two novels was immensely satisfying, and I am so glad I finally sat down and wrote.
    Congratulations on your successful day!

Author Information

David B. Coe

David B. Coe (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) is the Crawford award-winning author of the LonTobyn Chronicle, the Winds of the Forelands quintet, the Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and a number of short stories. Writing as D.B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com), he is the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a blend of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. David is also part of the Magical Words group blog (http://magicalwords.net), and co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. In 2010 he wrote the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Visit site.

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