Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Writing and Results

I have been working at my November column for about three days. This involves the mental equivalent of picking burrs out of socks, cutting the hairs off the vacuum cleaner beater bar, sweeping cobwebs out of the attic, and cleaning the oven, hour after cross-eyed, carpal-tunneled hour.

I sent the article off this morning. My editor liked it. My sigh of relief nearly sent all the papers whoofing off the desk.

And now I can get back to my real life and do the laundry and bake some food for my neglected family.

Yesterday I had tea with my friend Anita, who mentioned that her banker had heard me speak at a recent Harrisburg/Junction City Chamber of Commerce meeting. She found it surprising that I not only speak at such meetings, but enjoy it.

The truth is, in case you didn't catch on, writing is not fun. It is grinding, dirty work. But once I've paid my dues by finishing my column, I thoroughly enjoy all the benefits that follow. I love selling books and public speaking and seeing my name in print. It is great fun to be written up in the Mennonite Weekly Review or the Sword and Trumpet. Fan mail is the cherry on the sundae.

So, do I write only because of the fun results? No. I write because God nudged (shoved) me in that direction and hasn't let up yet. I would keep writing without the perks if it was what I needed to do (as I do in other areas of life, such as being patient with nasty people, a difficult task with no visible benefits).

I do take inventory quite often to make sure that I would still have a life and identity if I lost all these perks.

Meanwhile, I plan to endure the agony of writing as long as I'm supposed to, and I plan to gratefully enjoy the benefits and blessings that follow as long as they continue.

(And to all you struggling writers out there: I wish the same for you and will give you any boost I can.)

Quote of the Day:
"I thought this was a store just for men."
--Steven, when we stopped in a Jerry's for paint. Jerry's is a mega-hardware/building supply/guy's paradise.


  1. Don't you enjoy writing at all? I love the creative process. It is hard work, but thrilling too.

  2. Mary--I enjoy writing blog posts and emails, but I don't enjoy writing my column. But it's like childbirth, you go through the agony because of what lies beyond.

  3. From reading your writings I would never guess you didn't enjoy it. I haven't read the revised edition of your book, but I found your other one quite interesting. Keep writing, cause it is worth reading.

  4. Dorcas, I enjoy reading your blog.

    And I enjoy posting to your blog.

    Especially if I can say, "Howdy from Guaymas!"


  5. How much time did you spend on the first paragraph of this blog entry? It communicates powerfully to me. I actually feel the pain in my right wrist. It's time to do some carpel-tunnel exercises.

    The other Sharon who's been buried in essay grading for the last few months.

  6. Mark--Hola! Amazing, that you can surf the Net from Guaymas!
    Sharon--The first paragraph flowed right out of my fingertips, something that happens with blog posts but not Real Articles. Sigh.

  7. So true. In the few magazine articles I've been assigned, I've labored over every line, just as I did over every essay and creative writing assignment. Yet I can never get them to sound as good as my off-the-cuff blog posts. Frustsrating...but there we go, right back to it. :)

  8. Demonstration of the frustration--can't even spell anymore!

  9. My lands, Dorcas, you hit the nail on the head. Yes, it's an enjoyable craft, but it's so hard to come up with freshness, creativity, inspiration and all of those things readers expect, and yet when you feel the Holy Spirit pouring His thoughts through you, and you sit back and wonder at it, knowing exactly where that came from, it's reassuring to know that you're in God's mission field. Bless you, Dorcas. You're a very real blessing to so many.

  10. Hola to you, Dorcas.

    Yeah, it is amazing. And at DSL or better speed, too.

    Right now I'm at the CyberCafe in the village of La Atravezada (about three miles from Margy's place which used to be Joes' place which used to be our place). I have my ThinkPad connected to their network which is accessing the Web via dial-up. And that at a speed 50% faster than what I have on dial-up at home in Oregon!

    Like you say, amazing.