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.