My Thoughts Exactly

June 9, 2013

“Writing is a lot of work, and it’s in the main thankless work, except for the pleasure of doing it itself. One really has to want to do it (and not only want to have done it): one has to be interested in sitting in a chair for hours every day, alone, with nothing to fall back on but one’s own thoughts, and find the idea of turning words around—around and around—until they seem just right, just the right words in just the right order—the best possible use of one’s time.”

– From Susan K. Perry’s interview with Michelle Herman


Why do we write?

October 28, 2009

The October 2009 issue of The Writer has a short feature reflecting upon how many great writers have described the writing process as tortuous. George Orwell is quoted as referring to writing as, “a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” When I was in college, one of my professors assigned us to create a metaphor for our writing life. He said, “And no more essays comparing writing to vomiting!” (I read one of these vomit-writing essays when I worked as a writing tutor, and the common theme was: you know you have to do it, you know you’ll feel better when you do it, but you STILL resist doing it. After you’ve done it, you’re amazed at how much better you feel. And although I’m emetophobic, I can relate to this metaphor — as clearly most writers can, based on the fact that it had become cliche.)

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how writers–myself included–seem to loathe writing at times. So why do we do it? Why do you do it? For curiosity’s sake, I created a poll to find out. I’d love if you’d share it with all the writers you know.


Also, I apologize that you can only select one answer, since I’m sure your reasons are varied, as are mine. Please select your primary motivating factor. My answer? Because I feel crappy when I don’t.

Scare Someone Today

August 4, 2009

“It is a writer’s job to write what is difficult to write, to say the things others are afraid to say. We should take on projects that frighten others.” – Valerie Laken, author of Dream House