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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Literary Leap


In honor of Leap Year, I decided to take a personal leap of faith. Unfortunately, identifying an appropriately exhilarating activity proved problematic.

I pondered and pondered—well, I thought about the possibilities for at least fifteen minutes. After all that laborious contemplation, I came up with nada. While there are a hundred activities I’d like to entertain, nothing on my Leap List really requires faith. For example, climbing Mt. McKinley doesn’t require a deviation from my comfort zone. Just a plane ticket to Alaska and twenty-year-old knees, neither of which I possess.

Then it hit me. I don’t need to make the leap—I’ve already jumped off my cliff.

And so have you. Because no one takes a greater leap of faith than a writer. We lay it out there—our very souls, on glaring white paper, high resolution screens, Kindle Fires, and Nook Tablets—for the world to see. And criticize.

And criticize some more. Even those privileged enough to write the great American novel get…you guessed it. Criticism.

And what do we authors get for enduring negative critiques? Our profession pays an elite few exceptionally well, but the remaining 99 percent supplement their habit with day jobs, coupons, or sugar daddies. Obviously, compensation alone doesn’t drive us.

So why do we do it? Ask any serious writer and you’ll invariably get the same answer. “Because I must.” Our characters demand life, our plots require validated resolutions. Our muses compel us to commit grizzly murders, participate in monkey sex, and convince our best friend that pigtails really have come back into vogue.

Okay—so we have to write. But WHY must we do it?

If I knew that answer, I’d be one of the rarest of the rare—a best selling author. You could find my books (there’d be dozens of them) in the self-help section. Under psychology. More specifically, in the abnormal behavior section.

Perhaps the only folks crazier than us writers are the moms who enter their children in pageants (yes, I’m a closet Toddlers and Tiaras fan). Then again, I suppose you could say that’s the plot calling the tiara black.

Do you think there are any other professions where the effort is so monumental when compared to the compensation?


COPYRIGHT © 2012 Sugenia Robin Weaver


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4 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

Robin,

Loved this post, especially the part about 'the ;lot calling the tiara black!" And the idea of writing a best-seller explaining writers' zany behavior. :)

So glad you made the leap!

Judith Ashley said...

I'd need more than a plane ticket to Alaska and 20 year old knees to climb Mt. McKinley - however, I'd love to be in a warm cozy place with a large picture window looking at the play of light across it.

You are spot on when it comes to taking a leap of faith as a writer! Sending our stories out for agents and editors to criticize and reject before we even get to the reader side of things is the first of several leaps of faith.

Linda Lovely said...

Laughed at the post, Robin. I think there's already a psychology term for writers. We're masochists. We don't just receive critiques, we beg for them--from critique partners, contest and agents before we're published and reviewers after we're published. Yes, we're crazy and most of us even enjoy the process. There is no help.

Diana Mcc. said...

Great Post Robin! No, I don't think you can compare any other profession with the writing profession.