“Writing is a blood sport.”

The only thinking keeping my feet on the floor as I walked into the house this evening was my incredibly full bladder.

It never fails. As I get older I have found that I have a regular as clock work urge to utilize the facilities a set amount of time after eating.

I ate my rewarmed half panini while driving toward a meeting that was to be perhaps the most enlightening night of my whole adult life. Well, professionally speaking at any rate.

Within two major street junctions, if that long, I had devoured my supper and turned my concentration onto the route laid out for me on my phone’s map app. Turning right onto a section of a major boulevard I don’t believe I’ve ever seen, let alone driven, in all the years I’ve lived in this city I laid the wrapper from my sandwich onto the passenger seat and proceeded to forget about it as I concentrated on the arduous task of not being late and even more importantly not getting lost.

The most incredible woman stepped into my life this evening at the writer’s association meeting I attended. A former English teacher, editor, and author who held nothing back. She was our presenter for the evening and will hopefully become a permanent fixture in my life as a writer.

We sat around several rectangle tables all jammed together and she taught us. We were like her sophomore creative writing students: all in awe of the knowledge she had to share with us. We soaked up every word she uttered like thirsty sponges.

“There is a formula to all writing,” she said. I know about formulas! I use them all the time to teach report, functional and persuasive writing to seven year olds every day. Then it clicked for me. This was my a-ha moment. The major piece I was missing from my own writing, what was truly holding me back. I didn’t have a check list. Now I do!

“There is a logical pattern to all writing.” Logic!? Now we’re talking! If there is one thing I have to have in my life it’s logic. I must have a reason for everything. Why did the puppy chew a hole in my sock? Because I hadn’t put the sock into the hamper and it became fair game. Logic dictates that if the sock were in the hamper she wouldn’t have been able to chew it. So I will make sure the dirty socks always go into the hamper. Reason. A course of action. I’m good.

“If you are having fun while writing, you’re not doing it right,” she said. What! I love the typing away, imagining one impossible scenario after another!“Writing is a blood sport, it’s hard work and even gut wrenching at times.”

Writing is also rewarding. If you are a writer, you write because you must. You write because your head will explode if the story doesn’t come out of you. But to be an author you have to work at it. Take your first draft and dissect it, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, even sentence by sentence. If a word, sentence, paragraph, or scene doesn’t work, cut it out! (I’m paraphrasing now. What I wouldn’t have given for a tape recorder tonight!)

Lynn Harlin engaged me in her lesson tonight so completely I never wanted it to end. Pumpkin hour and long drive home be damned! I was learning, at the hand of a master, things to further my craft I had no idea were even learnable. Gifts, I always thought other writer’s had, pure talent, but not me. Tonight I learned I could do it, and with much practice and hours of hard work, I will be published some day!

The meeting ended far too quickly. The library where the meeting was held was closing and the staff were quickly ushering patrons out the doors. The euphoria starting to die down as I made my way to my car allowed the first screams of my full bladder to enter my brain. Has it really been two hours since I ate!?

I drove home, through the dark, along unfamiliar roads with a bladder screaming to be emptied and I couldn’t be happier! The famed mile wide smile couldn’t hold a candle to the toothy grin stretched across my face this evening.

I am a writer. I will be an author.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naomi Baltuck
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 14:05:22

    I love the idea of writing as a blood sport. I’m not sure who said that writing was easy. You just sit yourself down at the computer and open a vein. Great post. You are definitely a storyteller!

    Reply

  2. Dawn
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:35:53

    Thanks for stopping by!

    I am finding the hardest part about writing is getting that great idea and not being able to do anything with it until hours later, and sadly, most times, losing that idea in the process. (See my Thought Recorder post.)

    Writing certainly isn’t easy, but it can be so rewarding which makes it worth the pain. 🙂

    Reply

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