Just Words On A Page

I had another post written for today, a post that was a perfect example of how I write…a very, very negative example.

There really is a reason why I write these posts in one sitting. Just as there really is a reason why I don’t bother to plan them out, and why I let them grow & evolve as “organic” things.

That “perfect post” I have still-sitting in my Drafts folder is — not to put too fine a point on it — crap.

I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to write about when I sat down that day, so I pushed and pulled and tortured my brain to come up with something. And, well, come up with something I did.

Unfortunately, what I came up with was something for which I had no passion, and in which I consequently had no real confidence or belief. I certainly had no emotional investment. As I’ve mentioned before: if I (or any of us!) put out something that isn’t interesting to write, why the hell would anyone ever want to read it?

Which brings me back to how I write. Now, look, I know there are other, less internal, dynamics and ways of operating in the writing world, but they are as alien and strange and incomprehensible to me as my friend’s job designing computer chips…

The simple fact of the matter is that I have to give a damn about what I write. There has to be a level of feeling and investment in order for me to believe in it…and for me to trust myself, and (more importantly) to trust the words. Otherwise, why the hell would I, or anyone else, give a damn?

In the end, the reality for me is that writing is passion. Writing is emotion and connection and honesty. As writers, we want and need to elicit those things from our readers.  We want and need our readers to connect with our story, to feel the emotions and struggles of our characters. Well, if we want them to invest themselves in the story, we better damned well invest ourselves in what we imagine and create.

And, yes, if you’re wondering, I did just happen to finish a book that failed to do any of the above. Reading the thing was a serious chore…a chore and a waste of time that I regret. By the time I was a third of the way through that story, it had become impossible to ignore the fact that the author just didn’t give two shits about his characters, and cared only the littlest bit more about the story itself.

The saddest part of that, for me, is that the writer in question happens to be a “name” who can and will sell books solely on the basis of reputation and previous works. I hate the very concept — and sad reality — of that. I hate the fact that, for some writers, a story doesn’t have to matter, it just has to exist…hate the fact that a story can be just words on a page.

Just words on a page.

Shit…why would you ever bother?

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