The Write Way to Love

It seems like every year I learn a little more about what it takes to be a successful writer.   You’d think they could put all this information into  a book somewhere, and for all I know, maybe someone already has. But for me some things have to be learned gradually.  And some things, no matter how often you explain them to me, I have to learn for myself.

I remember how badly this phenomenon used to frustrate my dad.  I come home and share some bit of newly minted wisdom with him, and he’d say, “I’ve been telling you that for your whole life.”  And he had.  But on some level hearing it wasn’t enough.  I needed to figure it out for myself.

That last bit was a tangent which I’m leaving in, because frankly I love talking about my dad.  In fact, in most of my fiction you’ll find a father figure that make some tremendous impact on the story for either good or bad, or even through his absence.  I think this is a reflection of the impact I feel my dad has had on my life.  And now we’re in another tangent.  So, back to the point.

What I wanted to talk about was the realization I had just a few weeks ago, that if I wanted to succeed as a writer, I was going to have to start treating my writing like a second job.  Now please don’t read that and think I’m trying to remove all of the fun from writing, because I’m not.  I write because I love it, and I believe I always will.  But sometimes I don’t feel like I love it.  Some times I’ll sit in front of a blank screen, and say, “Nope, not happening today,” and in the past I would get up and walk away.  But you can’t get up and walk away from your job.

Kristen Lamb said something fantastic in her recent blog about reaching your potential in the new year.  She said, “Feelings, LIE.”

There are times when all of us are not going to feel like writing.  The solution?

Write anyway.

Give yourself a small goal to accomplish.  Say, “I’ll just write two hundred words, and if things don’t get better by then, then I’ll come back to it later.”  More often than not, by the time two hundred words have planted themselves on the page, you’ll feel the creative juices flowing a little better.

But today’s blog isn’t really about writing at all.  See, I’ve been getting all gung-ho about this new philosophy of writing: getting up far too early in the morning, spending hours writing blog posts, and overall just getting serious about the whole thing.  So yesterday, when my wife asked if I wanted to go and do something with her, there was a split second where I thought, “But I have so much work to do on my writing.”

Except then it hit me.  Writing isn’t the only job I have to do.  I also have to be a husband.  And just like writing, sometimes I don’t feel like being a husband.  Sometimes I’ll stop and think, “What happened to that gurgley sweet feeling I had back when we were dating?  Am I doing something wrong?  Did I make a mistake?”

But love is like writing.  It may be fueled by passion, but it is perfected by hard work.  And just because I may not feel the passion every moment of the day doesn’t give me an excuse to stop working to be a better husband.  The relationship between me and my wife needs care and attention and most of all, time if it’s going to be successful.

Because feelings do lie.  And marriage, just like writing, is a job.  If I don’t feel like being married today, it shouldn’t matter.  Because this is my job.  And at it’s very foundation, love isn’t just a feeling.  It’s a commitment.

So if I’m tired or cranky and just don’t feel like doing the work to make it work, I’m going to remind myself that this is my commitment.  This is my job.

Otherwise I’ll just end up being the marital version of a bad fan fiction writer.

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7 responses to “The Write Way to Love

  1. Author Kristen Lamb

    For me, learning that feelings lie, was a huge mental shift. I used to let feelings run my life. “Oh, I don’t feel like going to class.” I don’t feel like writing that paper.” I stole so much of my own joy and I didn’t even know it. Instead of going to school anyway, I let my feelings dictate. So I graduated with Bs instead of being top of my class. I had no real friends from college…all because I let my feelings dictate the agenda.

    “I don’t feel like cleaning the house. I’ll do it later.” “I don’t feel like paying bills.” The funny thing was that I almost always felt like goofing off or taking a nap. My feelings led me on a life of least resistance. Nothing great happens there.

    I am happy you enjoyed the blog and it stirred something inside of you. Your marriage must always be a priority. Most of the world lasts three years and then no longer “feel” like being married. They fall out of love. No, they are lazy and it is way more fun and easier to find a new shiny. Just like it is way easier to start a new novel than finish the old.

    Small truths reveal larger. What do our habits say about our character? Tough to answer sometimes. 😉

    Happy New Year.

    • “Feelings lie,” is something I’ve heard in one form or another for all my life. Heck, even the Bible has a verse about the heart being deceitful. But I never really knew how to apply that knowledge to the whole of my life before I read your post. Good stuff.

  2. Excellent post!
    I too, have let feelings lead me to make unfortunate choices. There’s often a moment of heavy lethargy or frizzy irritation I move through when I don’t want to do something and when I get through it I can usually follow through.
    I like writing three morning pages on a legal pad (from Julia Cameron) and it starts badly but I usually have something good by the end of it.
    I’m a big fan and practitioner of tangents.

  3. “But love is like writing. It may be fueled by passion, but it is perfected by hard work.” I love this line.

    Isn’t everything in life like that? If we want to lose weight, we have to go to the gym and eat healthy foods even if we don’t feel like it. If we want to be good at anything, we have to do it anyway, even when we are too lazy or have other things to do.

  4. Very well written post and provoking idea. So true. I agree with you and Kristen; I’ve let my feelings dictate way too much of my life, both at work and in a relationship. I too will remember this as I take more precise actions on my resolutions this year. Hope you repost this to remind us all!

  5. The line “Feelings Lie” is soo very true! There are times when I get so frustrated and so overwhelmed with my work that I just want to walk away. But like you said, you have to think of writing as a job. Even the most passionate people have days when they don’t feel like doing what they love, but they push through anyway. You and your craft are exactly like a married couple – you are together for better and for worse! 🙂

    Great post!

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