Monday, January 3, 2011

The Rewards of Writing


Last night I dreamed I was a preschool worker debating the use of stickers for motivation.

"Sometimes," Dream-Me said,"They ought to do things because they want to."


When I wrote The Freak Observer, I didn't have publication on my mind. I didn't think about what the cover was going to look like. I never imagined how it was going to be to see my book for sale. I worked on it when I felt like it.

I wasn't devastated by the reactions of early readers. Maybe one reason was that I found one of Ursula K. LeGuin's rejection letters--and it amused me so much I hung it up over my desk. But I think the biggest reason I wasn't crushed was that I wasn't focused on publication while I wrote the book. I was really writing because I felt like it.

When I was a writing teacher, I gave a short thing I'd written to one of my colleagues so she could read it. The next time I saw her she said it was the most depressing POS she had ever read in her life--she would be grateful, in fact, if I never gave her anything like that to read ever again. She was very honest. I know she had respect for me as a teacher, and we enjoyed working together for years. It is completely possible to write things other people don't like to read when you write only because you feel like it.

At some point I'm going to write about the complicated relationship of money and writing.* For now, I'll just say money hasn't proved to be a strong reason to write a novel. It is, however, a strong reason for me to stop here and go get the index I'm working on to the editor by deadline. An even stronger reason is that I want the index to be of use to the author, the book, and the reader. It won't be if it isn't ready to go to press.

*And the relationship between money and writing is very complicated--at least as I have it figured out so far--because both of them rely on metaphor for their currency.
Also, Dream-Me thinks Conscious-Me is pretty thick. Stickers?


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