The Agony and the Ecstasy, Blog Hopping.


Here’s this weeks prompt, from #OpenBook

Does writing energize or exhaust you?


A non-writer would probably think that writing was quite a benign activity. All you do is sit at a keyboard (or in front of a piece of paper) and put words down. What could possibly be exhausting, or energising, about that? It’s not like you’re involved in any physical labour.

And yet; in case we forget, we are all writers, even if it’s just a letter that says, I love you. Or, I’m leaving. Or, I’m sorry to say that…. Just think of the emotion contained in writing those words. And how you feel after writing it.

Speaking personally, writing fiction does both to me, depending on where I am in the process and what I’m writing about. That’s OK, I understand and accept that it’s all part of the deal. In a way, my journey, through agony and ecstasy, should be the same as the readers. Or even; dare I say it, the characters in whatever I’m writing?

Let’s look at them separately.


Energising

This is the feeling I get at the start of a project; when I get a new idea to work on. Everything is fresh and exciting as the possibilities start to open out. Especially if it’s a new series or concept. There’s real excitement in meeting a new team of characters, exploring a new setting and finding out all about their particular world. The words just seem to flow as the story unfolds.

And as you get to action scenes; or moments of tension, there’s pleasure in seeing how your characters deal with them.


Exhaustion

This sets in when I’ve been writing any project for a while.  The plot might be eluding me, words are not coming easily. I can see what has to be said but I can’t seem to express it. There could be tension or fear abounding in what I’m trying to write about. It doesn’t matter which emotion it is. It transmits from my head to the page and bounces back into my head; I find myself taking on the emotion that I’ve been expressing. I fell for the characters and their struggles. Add that to whatever else is going on in my life, it can overwhelm me. If I’m not careful, a new project will pop into my head and seem more exciting. Before I know it, I’ll be seduced by the energising feeling (see above). That’s when you have to grit your teeth and carry on.

Unfortunately, I find that writing series continuations tend to fall into this side of the equation. They can feel almost like a duty, especially if they’re prompted by the realisation that there were things you didn’t say the first time around. Or the added pressure that comes from writing to satisfy someone else’s request; even the feeling that this part might not be as good as the last, that can be pretty exhausting.


Although I’ve separated them, it’s perhaps better to accept that both feelings can happen at the same time; on the same page. A great idea for the plot can bring the sadness that comes with having to dispose of a character. The realisation that to achieve a perfect final scene, there will be gut-wrenching tension. And the sadness that comes with typing THE END, because it means that this particular journey is complete.

If strong emotions have been produced in the reader, then you can bet that the writer has experienced them as well. And if you’re a writer who writes every scene more than once, to polish it and produce the maximum effect, then you’ve had it worse than any reader.

If this post has got you interested in any of my novels, you can get more details by clicking the Portfolio link. Or, to receive a free short story, The Orbital Livestock Company, just join my team of subscribers by clicking here.

I’ll be back on Thursday with another Showcase post, featuring an Indie Author with something to say. Please click the links to see the other great blogs on this hop.

10 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    I think we authors have all torn our hair out at some point or other over a chapter or sentence. I turn off the computer and go out for a walk, and maybe come back to it fresh a few days’ later.

    • Richard Dee

      I walk the cliffs around my home, and I have several WIP’s that I can swap to if it’s all getting too much.

  2. Roberta Eaton

    I absolutely loved your quote. I am quite a new writer to full length novels and have my first supernatural horror book coming out in September this year. Prior to this, I have written and published 8 children’s books and been part of two anthologies. I thought your words here summed up beautifully my experiences with writing since 2016.

  3. Lela Markham

    I go hiking in the forest (we have millions of acres to choose from here) — or if it’s winter, I quilt or read someone else’s labor of exhilaration and exhaustion.

    I also swap between WIPs because a lot of times that exhaustion is not really exhaustion. It’s boredom with the same — or being overwhelmed by the agony I’m putting a character through. Funny how switching to putting another character in a different kind of agony can feel like a vacation.

  4. Amy Miller

    “it’s perhaps better to accept that both feelings can happen at the same time; on the same page”

    My fav line from this great post. I agree!

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