The Yin and Yang of Writing


Do you ever have a love-hate relationship with writing? Come on, let’s be honest. I’ll go first. Yes, I do. I can almost hear you thinking, I do too.

Here is how the Yin and Yang of Writing impact me.

First, it’s a love hate relationship. Some days I love writing. The troubles of the world vanish when I sit down to my laptop, and the words effortlessly leave my brain, run down my arm, and magically push the correct key on my keyboard. Wonderful prose appears on the screen. I find myself amazed at what the muse provided for me to write. Dreams of traditionally published books with my name on the spine fill my mind as do hopes of seeing my name in the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list.

Other days I hate writing. Yes, I used the H word. Those are the days when it is hard to sit down and write. The Internet’s siren call lures me away from writing. Friends drop by my coffee-house and invade my writing space. The muse misses our appointment. I realize the few words that make it to the page aren’t that good. Sometimes not even rewriting or editing can save them. The only key on the keyboard they will see after being highlighted is the delete key. The rankings I can see for my writing say you rank 4,987,898,000 in sales on Amazon.

Second, I am overwhelmed with ideas. Some days more ideas come to mind than are possible to write in a lifetime. I’m talking about great ideas. You dream of the type of ideas that sometimes overwhelm me. You think of many ideas. You find you never develop the majority of these ideas.

Other days my mind seems vacant. My mind sticks in neutral. Writing prompts don’t help. Ideas come as infrequent as the purchase of a winning lottery ticket.

Third, I face the never-ending challenge of the writer. To be or not to be … err, not that one, rather, do I live to write or write to live? Another way to put it, I work a day job to support my writing habit, but sometimes the day job gets in the way of my writing. I have to work the day job for money, insurance, and where I can pay the bills. I write before work, at lunch and after work. On most days it works.

Other days, the day job leaves so tired I don’t have the energy to write. Family or other responsibilities weigh me down. I ask, “Why can’t I write something that will generate enough money to allow me to write?” Take it from me, I have quit the day job and tried writing full-time. I did that for ten months, sold nineteen pieces and went back to the day job for a steady paycheck with enough money to live.

Fourth, I face the challenge of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. When a book is available at the local bookstore, friends and family understand what you do all day or night at the keyboard. While the payment is small, the understanding and acceptance of what I do is greater.

When a book is only available on e-book or Kindle, the checks are more consistent. The payments are higher, but without the tangible paper of the book in hand many don’t understand what I do. I have sold more books in the United Kingdom than the USA because of the far reach of the e-books. My wife seems to understand when the check arrives in the mail from Amazon.

Lastly, I love being “An Award-Winning” Short Story writer, but often cringe at the reviewers or critique group’s comments.

The Yin and Yang of Writing impact all the areas of my writing. I bet it impacts yours as well.

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