Why do I write? Certainly not for the money. My writing expenses (ink, postage, workshops, how-to-books) have no income to balance against––yet.
I write because I love to polish words and phrases. I roll words around in my mind and feel them on my tongue. I dissect words and put them together again in exciting new ways, twisting and turning phrases. My sentences have a life of their own. If I put my work aside and pick it up weeks later, I am surprised and frequently delighted by my words — as if seeing them for the first time.
Many authors insist that editing their own work is the worst part of the writing process, but I love searching for weak verbs, vague pronouns, and useless words. The “Find” feature of my word-processing software is a terrific tool in my hunt for “it”, “was”, “…ing”, and “…ly”. The time I spend hunting down these limp words may not be cost-efficient, but gives me hours of entertainment.
A red pencil gives me satisfaction too. When I owned a business and received letters with grammar and spelling issues, I felt compelled to circle them, though I stopped short of returning the errors to the sender. Perhaps I should have been a teacher. Now I use my red pencil for good. Within our local writers group we exchange chapters for comments and corrections. I enjoy editing the work of others––as long as the authors welcome my suggestions. In the process my own writing improves.
When an author I respect takes the time to read and comment on my work, I truly appreciate their assessments. I always mull over their suggestions and frequently agree with them. Their honest feedback improves my writing.
I write because it makes me happy, but I hope that someday my effort will be validated by a reader or publisher willing to pay hard-earned cash for my novel.
Today is not that day. The agent who had expressed a mild interest in my novel, Rim to Rim––Death in the Grand Canyon, sent a nice rejection letter today. I’ll keep pounding away at this writing craft, but right now that day of validation seems light-years away.