What You Have To Do / What You Love To Do

Truth time: I hate about 50% of the work of being a writer.

I hate writing query letters. I hate writing blurbs. I hate writing synopses.

I…strongly dislike re-writes. I slightly less strongly dislike line edits.

I hate, hate, hate promotion.

headdesk.gifBut here’s the bigger truth: I love writing.

And if I don’t do the rest of it, I can’t do the part I love.

It seems simple, but getting that figured out in my head was a major turning point for me. For what feels like forever, I dragged my heels on all the “other stuff” a writer needs to do besides writing. I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated, and I agonized over every word of every synopsis and every blurb. Then, one day, I woke up and shook it off, and reminded myself that the writing is what I care about. And all the other stuff is just…other stuff. I do it to support my writing. I have to do it. I don’t have to love it.

I just have to do it.

When you think about it, only hating about 50% of what you do is probably pretty good, compared to most occupations. I hated way more than 50% of my life back when I was a teacher, and probably even more than that when I used to work in advertising. No one loves cleaning toilets, and an awful lot of the time, parenting boils down to a lot of difficult, difficult, messy work. Yet we suffer through it for the paycheck, or for our family, or for the chance at advancement. On a day to day basis, we get it done, probably because a principal or a boss or the threat of two-year-old meltdown is breathing down our neck.

In writing, unless you’re on a deadline, there’s no one breathing down your neck. It’s just you and that screen and that to-do list that makes you want to cry.

So just remember, days when the urge to weep and give up on that stupid, stupid, dear-God-why-must-I-write-you synopsis gets too strong.

You do this because you love to write. If you don’t do this, you can’t write. Not commercially. Not for a living. Not for other people to actually read.

Do what you have to do. Because it’s the only way you’ll be able to do what you love to.

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