Why Writing is Like a Relationship
Love. It’s the first thing that you have to have to make a relationship work.
It also helps a lot when you’re working on a manuscript.
There are different levels of love in a relationship: just friends, best friends, lovers, marriage partner, crime partner, your pet goldfish, whatever. But if you don’t care about them, if you don’t love them on some level, you’re not really going to get much back.
When you are in love, mild all the way to head over heels gob-smacked, you feel joy.
If you don’t feel at least a small amount of joy whenever you think of your manuscript, just like with people – chances are you’re not in a healthy relationship. No amount of flogging yourself or the manuscript will make it any better. You’ll just start torturing each other because you can’t think of anything better to do.
Writing is deeply personal, whether you rip out 8 books a year or 1 ever 2 years, you are putting yourself into it. It’s a labor of love.
I’m not saying you must be utterly in love with you manuscript. More than one author has said that “writing the work of my heart was the worst business decision ever,” but they still love what they do. They still care about the pieces they’ve created since. Just like a relationship, they got burned, but they tried again, and fell in love enough to give a damn about the next project.
Readers can tell if you don’t give a damn.
If you don’t love it on some level, just walk away. Writing is one of those relationships that will accept nothing less.
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