Some days it seems that everyone loves writing. Certainly a glance at the numbers for “Freshly Pressed” (The best of 337,656 bloggers, 327,229 new posts, 327,146 comments, & 79,537,749 words posted today on WordPress.com, as of this morning) suggest that there are a LOT of wordsmiths out there.
But what is it we love? Statistics will tell you that the number of writers out there who can point to their novel on the bookshelf is very small, and the number who can point to it on sale in the shops is even smaller. Does that mean that the bulk of writers do it for the love of the craft? Do we love the writing, the rush as the words drop into place on the page or screen, or is it the feeling of accomplishment, the sigh of satisfaction as we type “The End”? Is it the writing or the having written?
The beauty of the internet age, as Kristen Lamb will tell you, is that authors are now available to their readers in a way they never have been before. Ok, so you may not be able to drop JK Rowling an email to say how much you admire her work, but most savvy authors have a website, or a blog, or a Facebook page, or a Twitter account or all of the above. Because of this, when pondering the question above, it was possible to approach successful writers and put the question to them. They didn’t have to respond, of course, but here’s what the ones who did have to say:
Jane Espenson (Writer for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Torchwood and many others) : I love both. But I hate the starting-writing.
James Moran (Writer for Doctor Who, Torchwood, the feature films “Severance” and ‘Cockneys Vs Zombies” and many more projects) :Both. I love writing, sometimes it’s hard, but it’s great fun. And I like the sense of achievement when I finish something.
For a wider cross section of writers, here are some of the responses to the question posted on Twitter:
@AKyleWilliamsAmanda Kyle Williams
The process is excruciating. Finishing a draft,revising-that’s when the magic happens 4 me – & getting an accepted manuscript.
I’d have to say both: the writing and the having written. Both have their own rewards
@JessicaThomasIN Jessica Thomas
I like having written better than the process of writing. Would rather be editing than writing.
To me, there’s nothing greater than the feeling of accomplishment. It keeps me putting my fingers to the keyboard
think I love the editing best, great satisfaction getting the story out but polishing it up is best 4 me x
Definitely the writing. Being in the zone is awesome.
I love most the process of writing; everything outside the page disappears. It’s hard but engaging work.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that we all have different answers, or maybe we should be surprised how similar some answers are. The question seems to show that writing is more than the physical act of committing the words to the page or screen – it’s the evolution of drafts, the crafting of a final manuscript.
And we love it.
Feel free to pitch in with YOUR response to the question if you didn’t pick it up on Twitter. And which famous author, living or dead, would you love to trade Tweets with? The best answer gets a free copy of my e-book “Writing a play for Community Theatre”.