The Best Part of Writing

I learned to type on an old typewriter just like this one. Still have it up in a closet. Image credit: Benjamin Chan at Flickr

When the voices chatter in my head, and the words come so fast I can barely capture them with the keyboard — that’s when I feel good about writing. That’s the “ah” moment when I remember why I do this.

But that’s not the only time.

When I’m writing index cards like a woman obsessed, piling them on top of each other and moving to the next fresh card as each new idea or previously unknown fact emerges into consciousness — that’s when I feel good about writing.

Then later, hovering over my big white board with cards spread out and held in place with brightly colored magnets, I can see a hole in a plot, an unanswered question, or a character missing from a scene. My hands blur as I shift and slide the cards, remove dead ones, add new ones. That moment when the plot lays straight and true, and the seemingly unrelated scenes and snippets of dialogue on the cards melt together into one coherent story — yeah. That’s when I feel good about writing.

When I reach the end of the story, knowing the end is exactly how I imagined it, yet so much more, and my fingers tap out the last word, something it took me so many years of my life to do—that’s when I feel good about it. I beat the fear again. The deep, debilitating fear of sucking. Knowing that I will never again fall prey to that little voice in my head, so prevalent for over three decades, the one that whispered in my ear that if I didn’t finish, I couldn’t fail.

But most of all, more than any other time, is the moment when someone else reads what I have written, and my words make them happy. Or sad. Or frightened. Or simply entertained.

When someone else enjoys this thing I’ve made, that’s when I feel best about writing.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.


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