By Ann Minnett
After a year of fear and false starts, my ability to write has returned, and for that I am deeply grateful. I now understand what what the process of writing means to me. Here are four reasons for my gratitude:
Writing is my escape into a world of my own making.
Reading used to be my escape, but lately I’m unable or unwilling to start a novel. Reading has no appeal. I feel wrung out by the election from hell. Do you? I am emotionally spent and much more willing to work Sudoku puzzles or play Freecell than read. A good book has tension, people I feel strongly about, twists and turns and surprises. I don’t want to be whipsawed by literature after enduring an insufferable campaign in which every morning brought the same question… What’s happened now? I’ve had enough suspense for a while, and so I write.
Writing is my creative outlet.
I love writing fiction because I can make it up. My earlier career as a Developmental Psychologist required me to be meticulous with facts and interpretations of the data from studies about child and family development. Clinicians, teachers, policy makers make important decisions about children’s lives based on research findings. Professional ethics and oversight ensure researchers stick to facts.
I recently saw a list of fake news sites that flourished on social media during our recent election. I wasn’t surprised to find the blatantly fake ones. (Aha! I knew it!) Then again, I trusted a couple of the fake sites and even shared their articles on Facebook. I believed the hyperbole because those stories paralleled my beliefs.
Therefore, I will fictionalize on purpose and perhaps refrain from dispensing or consuming fiction on social media.
Writing provides me a community of interesting writer friends and colleagues.
I don’t know what I’d do without my eclectic writer friends. During the past months when I considered not writing again, the only reason I didn’t quit was the sad thought of no longer sharing in the writing community.
Besides, writers are thinkers, observers of human nature, and storytellers. My friends amaze, tickle, and often shock me in a good way with what they create.
Writing provides me a heart connection with people I will never meet.
My first two novels deal with deeply personal and frightening events in a girl’s life. There are readers to whom these difficult subjects have meaning, and I’m so grateful when they mention their own lives in heartfelt reviews of my work.
I once sat in on a discussion of Burden of Breath held by readers who work with abused and neglected children. I was fascinated by their insights and opinions. It struck me how the tentacles of relationships exist between Ann the Author and the Unseen Reader. I’d like to write a story about that bond in the future.
Full of gratitude, this writer now finishes final edits for my third novel and is actively engaged in writing a fourth. More to come about their contents in a future post.
Until then, Peace and Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Ann, your blog posting is an inspiration to all writer friends who rely on each other so much, because they feel acceptance of crazy plots and typos, that some how turn out to be readable stories. Thank you for your heartfelt word.
Thanks, Marie. You’re one of the best! ~Ann
I think every creative person also has a favored media. For us writers, it’s words. We writers love to build with language. Every word has power and when you string them together… Karen
So true… ~Ann
Ann, our eclectic critique group missed you and are elated to have you back in the fold. Your insight is unique and your help immeasurable.
By design, writing is (and must be in my case) a lone endeavor (if you don’t count the characters in our heads). That is why I share your appreciation and need for surrounding ourselves with a group of writers who inspire us, empathize with us, and pull our best writing from us. Playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play “Cardinal Richelieu”, is credited with writing “The pen is mightier than the sword.” We have seen how words can uplift, inspire, and invigorate a nation, and over past many months, we have seen how they can denigrate, marginalize, and demean also. And now that our pens have been exchanged for keyboards, we must still remember and respect the power of written words.
PS: Fun fact: Edward Bulwer-Lytton is also renowned for the opening line “It was a dark and stormy night”
That’s how he began his 1830 novel, PAUL CLIFFORD. (found no way to underline or italicize title)
Thanks, Debbie. We need your voice. ~Ann