Snakebit Writer

This is me with a statue of Jack London in Oakland,Ca. July 2012 This is what a writer in love with writing does on vacation.

You know the saying, “If it was a snake it would have bit you”?

Is my Grandpa Smith the only who used to say that?

Well, I haven’t been blogging since before I went to Costa Rica. Part of what I intended to do on that trip is figure out what I wanted to do about this writing thing. Since I’d be away and without Little Sir, I figured it’d be a good time to mull that over.

Since going back to work full time, it’s been impossible to have the writing schedule I used to have.

And, to be honest, I didn’t want that schedule. Any schedule. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to blog. I didn’t want to edit. And, shockingly, I didn’t even want to read that much.

I spent time praying and meditating about writing, I realized that somehow I lost the whole reason I wrote in the first place:

I loved it. I loved making words go together. I loved learning new words. I loved thinking up story and the work of making it come out on a page the way it was in my head. I’m not talking about being great at it. I’m just saying I loved doing it, learning about it, talking about it and reading others’ attempts at doing it.

Around 2004 or so, I attended a writer’s conference. It  was a tremendous experience. But that is where the foundation of my writing life also started to erode. It was slow, so I didn’t realize how much was changing.

And not in a good way.

Imagination, craft, voice were replaced with things like platform, market, industry.

And for a while now I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t writing. Why certain efforts made me feel…pissed off and rebellious. I am not going to write and you’re not going to make me!

Why didn’t I feel that breathless euphoria I used to have when the words flowed or during a  good discussion on story arc?

And if it was a snake it would have bit me.

I stopped writing for the love it. And I started writing for the business of it.

I have said to people time and again that writing is an art and publishing is a business and don’t confuse the two or your heart will get broken.

No one but me confused the two and I let myself lose the art.

And the art of writing is what I absolutely adore.

So, I’m leaving the business of publishing.

And I’m returning to the art of writing.

It’s not that I don’t want to publish, but I can’t pursue it in a way that costs more than it can ever pay.

It’s good to be back.