So there I was huffing and puffing at the laptop when my husband passed by the room. He asked me ‘Why do you even write if you hate it so much?’
Well. I guessed I wasn’t exactly the picture of a woman enjoying herself…
That got me to thinking. Why do I write? I’d never slept less in my life. Free time was never relaxing, and there was always something I needed to do, if not for my book then for my blog, Twitter, or Facebook (not to mention the many writing forums I belonged to). My unfortunate family had to suffer through me accosting them with plot ideas at all hours of the day and night, and my friends hardly saw me at all. And dammit, I was two seasons behind on True Blood!
I put the laptop away. I was going to Take A Break. For two weeks! There was no need to stress myself out the way I was. Writing was supposed to be fun, and if it wasn’t anymore, I just wasn’t going to do it.
The first night went swimmingly. I watched a movie with my husband and ate a delicious plate of cheesy nachos—my favorite. I only thought about my plot a little (read: a lot)
The next day I went to Chapters and bought a new YA book that I’d wanted to read for ages; I’d make a tea and read it in a hot bath that evening—it was going to be great!
While driving home a song came on the radio. As I terribly sang along, a scene unfolded in my head. A great scene for my book! Then I remembered, oh yeah…I’m on a break.
The drive home continued. I passed the high school near my house and spotted a group of teens hanging out by the bus stop. One of the girls looked just like how I imagined my main character, with a lion’s mane of curly blonde hair and sporting a pair of mean army boots. It gave me a thousand ideas on how I could improve the descriptions of my main character. Except, oh yeah, I was on a break.
Dinner time came. As the onions sautéed on the stove, I thought longingly about my book. I decided, what the hell, I’d just read over the last chapter I’d written, just to remind me how crappy it was and encourage me on my path of Breakage. Only it wasn’t as bad as I recalled. In fact, it was maybe/possibly/kind of good…
A disturbing find.
I put my son to bed and poured myself a hot bath, my new book in hand. The book didn’t disappoint. In fact, if I recall correctly, it was amazing! (I wish I could remember which amazing book exactly it was). So why, then, couldn’t I enjoy it? With every amazing sentence I read, I found myself actually getting more and more anxious. I didn’t get it. I’d always continued reading while I wrote my books, and never had I been borderline angry whilst enjoying myself. Then it struck me: because reading a great book was the ultimate challenge for me to be a better writer.
I couldn’t fight it anymore. I got out of the bath and pulled out the laptop.
Some break that was.
So why do I write, you ask? Because that song was great. Because that teenager wore a cool outfit. Because that book was amazing. Because it only appears I hate writing. Because I actually love it with all my heart. And because I have to.
Note: It’s much easier to remember why I write now. I just look over my shoulder at the book deal tacked to my corkboard J
Michelle Krys is the author of the YA urban fantasy, 'The Witch Hunter's Bible', tentatively slated for publication with Delacorte/Random House Spring 2014. She is represented by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary.
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