Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Does Writing Energize or Exhaust You?


A good friend who is a prolific reader but doesn’t write asked me a variation of the this post's title question.

Hers was more along the lines of “do you love to write?” or maybe “do you need to write to be happy?”

I thought of an answer one of my favorite authors gave to the question. Polly Horvath is a master whose prolific output would suggest she lives to write. When asked if she loves to write she said, “I love to have written.

That about sums it for me as well. Before any first-drafting day, no matter if it’s a novel or a picture book, I feel anxious in a vague way. I recognize this feeling as a sort of fear. Fear that I can’t, fear that I don’t have it in me, fear that if I don’t I never will again.

Then I sit down and write. After the day’s self-assigned output, I have a feeling of calm that I now recognize as a sort of peace. I might even liken it to a calm version of bliss.

So there it is: I love to have written.

It also answers the question in this post’s title. I am drained but also filled. I am exhausted and energized at once.

Anyone who confronts fear and comes out the other end knows this feeling.


Kelly Hashway said...

While I love writing, there are days that it completely wipes me out, leaving me feeling almost hungover. It takes a lot of mental effort to be creative for hours on end.

Evelyn said...

I only love to write when I have a story or poem idea that won't let me go until I write it. That doesn't happen very often. I do love to create puzzles.

MirkaK said...

I think what you’re referring to reflects the creative process in general, whether you’re writing, painting, sculpting, stitching, etc. I know that sometimes before I get started, I feel intimidated, inhibited. But once I get going and I’m fully engaged, the fears usually drop away. After I’ve had a book published, I’ll look back, incredulous that I got through all the hitches, grateful that I stayed the course so I truly can say I loved doing it, as hard as it was.

Vijaya said...

I've heard that before from others too: "I've loved to have written." There is joy in having done what you set out to do.

I definitely *need* to write, even if it's just for myself. It's how I figure things out, clarify my own thinking. The process can be full joy or pain but when there's some illumination, the work is worth it. I believe I shall die writing.

Sherry Ellis said...

I can relate to that. Writing is hard work. Admittedly, I feel drained more often than not when I do it these days, but it is a sense of accomplishment when I complete a project.

Sue said...

So true. The other day I was hesitant to get into revisions on a picture book, but once I did it went well. And here I am again today, supposed to be working on revisions and dreading that I can't do it. Sigh. Good reminder.