“I Write Because I Must”

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It’s September! The leaves are already beginning to change colors in the park across the street from my apartment, the temperatures are getting comfortable and when it rains it smells less of summer and more like autumn. Isn’t it beautiful? September is definitely my favorite month, and that is not just because my birthday is the 24th!

Obviously, this means August is over and my gods, that was one hell of a month. The ups and downs my writing went through were downright dizzying. Yet somehow, when I stumbled home exhausted on Thursday after three hours of overtime, I managed to write the remaining 1857 words needed reach my monthly goal. Happy day!

September won’t be quite such a rocky month because the only vacation I’m taking is a long weekend in Spain with my parents – and the whole intention of that weekend is to write. I’m actually quite excited. Still, I am being kinder to myself this month and have lowered word count goal to 25.000.

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Last week, I made the decision that arguably should have been made months ago – that for the foreseeable future, all my energy will go into Spiralling (with exception of NaNoWriMo). No more short stories and online series. That turned out to be amazing! A weight has been lifted. My brain is free to only think about Spiralling without stressing about short stories, and it’s already generated some great ideas and fixes to plot-holes. It’s making me hopeful that September will be more productive than August.

Another thing that has me oh so happy is that our Wednesday Critique Group is finally getting its sea legs back after a fairly unstable summer with a bunch of us going on vacation at different times. These meetings are often the highlight of my week. Meeting up with three awesome people to talk about our four amazing stories? It’s heavenly. Even when we go off on tangents, something productive usually comes out of it.

Anyone who can possibly get themselves a critique group absolutely should. Reach out to places you might find writers in your community, ask if anyone is interested in sharing 3000 words of their WIP every week for their team-mates to give feedback on. It is honestly such a huge help. Extra sets of eyes along the way tend to spot unclear things that you thought were obvious, or scenes and characters that are completely unnecessary to the plot. Or, on the best days, they will tell you how much they love this particular scene and get into arguments with each other about your MC’s love interest. It’s brilliant.

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Writing is a solo-gig for most people, but having people around to share in the adventure is nothing but a benefit. Other writers just get it. Yesterday, I had someone (a non-writer, obviously) accuse my writing of being a “hobby”. I may have lost it a little. The definition of hobby is “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” And sure, to a lot of people writing might fit that description. But when writing is all you think, breathe and dream, and the one thing you want to do with your life, this definition just doesn’t apply.

Yes, writing is something I do regularly. Most of the time it’s something I do for pleasure. But it’s the leisure time that gets to me. It seems to imply that writing isn’t the thing my world revolves around. The thing that is constantly on my mind no matter what I am doing. My brain is always working on writing even if my hands are doing other things.

“Then what would you call it, if it isn’t a hobby?” this person asked me, and honestly I had a hard time knowing how to respond. Words like calling and purpose seemed a little too dramatic for this conversation. Instead I just shrugged and said “I’m a writer. It’s not something I do, it’s something I am, all the time. That’s just how it is.”

Write because I must
I am always skeptical of quotes because it’s hard to know if they’re real, but regardless of who said it, this quote applies so… yeah, I’m using it anyway. 

That’s all I have for you. I hope you create beautiful things today, or at least chill in your bed, enjoy some peace and quiet, and create beautiful thoughts.

Rain S.

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