The most frustrating thing about being a writer, I think, isn’t publishing, or ideas, or first drafts.
The most frustrating thing about being a writer is that when I’m my most vulnerable, most open, most honest, most raw, most needy, most wanting, I am not a writer. I am a reader. The only words I find when I reach out into the universe in those moments belong to other people. They aren’t my own.
With the exception, perhaps, of Second Position. Which is almost definitely a love letter.
I think people assume that because we writers write, and especially if we write romance, that we’re the best communicators in the world! We know all the best words!
No, sorry. Wait, that’s someone else. *cough*
I script things in my head. I know how I’d write it, so I know how I want something to play out. But people aren’t characters. I can’t make them do or say the things I want them to say. They can’t read my mind, because they aren’t figments of my imagination. You see where this can get irritating, right? We writers spend a lot of time in our heads, where we have total control (even when we don’t, we really do). And then we emerge into the real world, where everything feels out of our control (even when it isn’t.)
As an individual with a Master’s Degree in being an Uptight Introvert, I had to teach myself about love. And for a long time, I thought I wrote books to do that. But I didn’t write books to learn that. I read books. Specifically romance novels. And sure, romance novels have a strong fantastical element to them, and sure, more than enough of them are wish fulfillment–but I needed those wishes to be fulfilled. I needed to live in someone else’s imagination so I’d learn to let go and have my own.
I write books to teach myself how to let go and forgive. I read books to teach myself how to love and fight.
I find myself grappling for words sometimes. And I always end up scrolling through quote tumblrs, through Goodreads, through my favorite poets’ Facebook pages and instagrams, searching for words that are not my own because the feeling I’m experiencing feels so alien. I need to know a feeling to write a feeling, and when I’m struggling, it’s almost always with a feeling I can’t–or am afraid to–put down in my own words. So I lean on someone else’s.
Yesterday, I reread the end of Balloonmakers #2. And one character says to another, “Love that doesn’t work out is still love. It’s still worth something.”
And it turns out, that was exactly what I needed to read.