Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Paradox of Writing

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out to the Feed My Reads and Friends Facebook Event for my hosting session Monday night. (and to everyone who supported all of the many other talented authors at the event!)

Writing is a paradox.... It is at its essence a solitary, closed-door activity. We spend all our time in alone in our heads, then holed up in a room in front of a computer or pile of paper, then maybe we open the door a crack and let a few brave souls in to the read the pages and test the waters, then it's back to being alone, editing, revising, maybe trusting a few more readers, and then, eventually, when the story is as right as it needs to be, and the timing is perfect, we yank the door off its hinges and let the sunlight- and the general public- come pouring in.

This transition can be a little akin to that moment of being shoved out into the light from some interminable time in a comfortable darkness. The author stands there nervous, blinking as his or her eyes adjust to the contrast and then either stumbles, or strides, or leaps into the opposite side of being a writer: the public life. In this world, our ideas- our characters that we love, our stories that seem as real to us as our own lives- are on display for everyone. Indeed, this is what most of us write for in the first place- to be able to share our stories, or to enlighten or entertain. After all, in the end, isn't that what writing really is- connecting?

Still, it can be a daunting, at times confusing, at times troubling, way to live. Scribbling alone one minute and then defending your work in another. Living inside the safety of your head and then living in the precarious glare of the spotlight. But no one ever said writing was easy, and no one ever said that writers were rational human beings. We just do what we do, because we can't function otherwise.

So once again, thank you to those of you who read, who sympathize, who support your authors and fellow writers, who come out and lend a hand, and connect. It is much appreciated.


  1. Steph, this post is spot on! As a fellow writer, I completely agree and I absolutely love the way you said it.

  2. Yes, it IS daunting. And it's terrifying to let go ... to stop tweaking and editing and put it out there into the world for public consumption, knowing if you only had one more day, it could be even better. Writing for me has been a HUGE lesson in letting go. I had the domain name and paid for hosting for 4 YEARS before I started my humor blog, Her Royal Thighness ( a month ago. I couldn't figure out WordPress, I don't have artwork, nothing I wrote was good enough ... My husband finally said to me, "If you don't put anything out into the universe, the universe can't give anything back." And I did it; I hit publish. But I empathize with your description of writing being daunting. It's difficult to put your life, your thoughts, your ideas, your characters out there. It brings back middle school angst of wanting people to like me and being afraid someone out there won't ... that I'll be sitting at my own lunch table. I so hope people are laughing with me and not at me. And criticism is difficult to take ... not from other writers, because I respect input ... but unsolicited input from people who AREN'T putting themselves out there. As you know, I've already been called a fat bitch by someone I don't even know. It's very hurtful and made me question why I'm doing this; I mean, I'm not getting paid. I just want to make people smile. Ultimately, though, this past month has been an amazing experience in terms of the connection you speak about. People write to me, telling me that I make them feel validated. But in truth, it's the other way around.

    1. First of all, Parri- I love what you said about writing as an act of "letting go." Exactly. Second- I just have to say that I am so thankful that you took the big step and started your blog. It is fantastic and your writing never ceases to make me laugh out loud. I always knew that you would be a killer humor blogger and I was dead right. I am so impressed and proud of you!


Thanks for your comments!