Writing Is An Uphill Battle (Thank Goodness)

Originally posted on Writers In The Storm

I blame it on a lunch date. Or maybe I should say I owe it to a lunch date. Yes, my entire writing career is predicated on the fact that I met someone for lunch whom I’d never met before. I don’t remember his name, or what he looked like. I never saw him again.

Good thing you don’t pay royalties on inspiration.

During our pleasant midday conversation in an Irish pub, the first conversation since exchanging a few emails, my lunch companion mentioned that my email voice was “very well-suited to blogging.”

I thanked him.

Then, I went home and Yahoo-searched “blogging.” This was 2005, after all, and I unceremoniously entered the blogosphere.

After a few months of fervent blog reading and following and commenting, I started my own blog in early 2006. It had a polka-dot background and nary a reader. In my first-ever blog post I thanked Lunch Date Guy for setting me on a journey whose destination was unknown, and noted how that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I’d begun. I couldn’t have imagined where it would lead. Had someone told me, they’d have gotten a head slap.

I am big believer in momentum, that going downhill means you’re picking up speed and getting stronger, readying you for the climb.

My early blog where I wrote anonymously about being a single mom, dating, and life (like the main character in THE GOOD NEIGHBOR–coincidence?), led me to writing essays for photocopied ezines, and then for newspapers and online publications. My essays led me to attempt a memoir (because whose life isn’t worthy of 300 pages?), which led me to try fiction, which led to a book deal. Which led me to start a new blog about the kind of fiction I loved and was writing.

My full circle has a point. It doesn’t matter where or how you start. It doesn’t even matter WHERE you go. It just matters THAT you go, that you keep moving, that the momentum in your writing life mimic the momentum you admire or strive for.

Even as a brand new blogger in 2006, I always wrote, rewrote, and edited my blog posts. They became writing exercises, stretching muscles I’d not used in years. I read many blogs daily in those days before quick life updates on Facebook and Twitter, and dreamed about having comments on my posts. And I got them eventually, and a solid following of bloggers and blog-readers. Some of whom now read my novels.

I learned from my lunch date that we don’t find our inspiration, we choose it.

We choose to look up blogging and take a chance on something new. We choose to use our observations about the blue sky to write an essay or a poem. We choose to tell a story that makes us laugh because we want others to laugh. We choose to spend a year, or two, or six, writing a book.  Maybe writers are compelled to write, but we choose to do it. How many people have you met who say they want to write a book? My answer is always the same. “You should.” And I mean it. If you want to write a book, you should write it. Without a degree, without classes, without feedback. You have to start going if you want to go somewhere, anywhere. (I’m not suggesting that this is a good idea forever, that craft isn’t important, that knowledge isn’t king (or queen)).

I don’t mean you can always decide what you want to write about but you can choose to embrace the inspiration that is presented to you, to cultivate the ideas that rattle around in your head, to embrace curiosity without hesitation, and to move forward despite uncertainty and fear.

And if you get lunch out of it, all the better.

Amy xo


8 thoughts on “Writing Is An Uphill Battle (Thank Goodness)

  1. Amen. I came to the close of my 30 year business career having written thousands, dare I say hundreds of thousands of memos, articles, and reports for people who obsessed over commas and hyphens and semicolons. I retired and stared at my bag of tools and decided to put them to use with the other side of the brain. I haven’t looked back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post spoke to me. It’s a great reminder of how we evolve over time as writers and how that’s a good thing. I sometimes want to cringe at things I wrote in the past or feel self-conscious about projects started (and shared) that didn’t pan out for one reason or another, including that I changed course away from them. Those feelings can fuel perfectionism and fear and hold us (okay, me) back from putting more “out there.” It’s good to be reminded that it’s all part of the evolution and, as you eloquently pointed out, it’s not about where or how you start or where you go but that you follow inspiration and creativity. No creative endeavor is ever a waste of time; often those “ideas that rattle” show us or create opportunities and land us in places we wouldn’t, couldn’t, have pictured otherwise. As a WFW follower and a reader, I’m glad you took a chance on that lunch date.


  3. Hi Amy, thanks for this. Hope life is going well. Because life is a series of movements from one thing to another. And often as take that journey the goals aren’t clear. But we keep moving, our eyes open, our brains assimilating ideas and after a while where we are seems like it was always our goal. It just took some living to get there.


  4. “…going downhill means you’re picking up speed and getting stronger, readying you for the climb.” What a fabulous way to look at things. Thanks for the inspiration!


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