As I write this, it’s bank holiday in the UK and Memorial Day in the US. The sun is out and – against all the odds – summer is actually here. So what’s a writer to do but write?
I’ve been working on a project since winning Camp NaNoWriMo the First in April, originally a scifi novella it’s about to hit novel length and that’s scary. I was originally aiming to write four novellas set in different time periods on the same planet, chronicling a solar cataclysm and how it changed the various species and their cultures.
The thing about writing is when you’re muse-ridden, it’s amazing. Time flies, the words just flow and you literally live your life thinking about whatever project your working on. You wake up thinking about it, go to bed writing a scene in your head and even dream about it. The best part? It’s wonderful.
In some ways, writing is imperfect. As a student, I studied Plato at uni as part of a classics course. All this talk of perfection confused me but suddenly I understand what he meant by everything in this world being a pale imitation of reality. In my head, these scenes are perfect, the characters realistic and complex, the plot enduring and it shines like a perfectly cut garnet. Then it comes through me, writers are a channel for inspiration but we’re not perfect. Our words can get muddle, the text missing words or riddled with error. This is what editors are for, to cut polish that crystal we’ve mined and make it shine.
Most writers I know don’t write for money, they do it for the love of the story and their desires seem to be more about getting their novels, short stories and screenplays out there to be appreciated. Money, though appreciated, is just a side-effect which allows people to continue eating and paying the mortgage while they write.
Me? I do it for the stories too. But on those days when my muse is whispering in my ear, no other experience can match it. It’s that sense of focus that I lack most of the rest of the time, that purpose in life which defines all of us. Only when we’re done, when the story is finished, does the shine begin to dull. So we simply begin again, to mull ideas and hunt our roving muses, ever chasing the perfection of a story in full flow.
That, for me, is writing and the reason I will always do it; because I wouldn’t be me without it.