What is the Most Satisfying Part of Writing?

by Melissa Tydell | 62 comments

Some days, writing is easy. The words flow effortlessly and quickly. You walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Other days, writing is hard. Each sentence takes time, making it onto the page in fits and starts. You do what you can and contemplate deleting it all in the end.

So why do we write? What is the most satisfying part of writing—that part that brings you back to the computer or paper time after time, no matter how challenging the process feels?

pencil and paper

Photo by Brendan DeBrincat

A Love-Hate Relationship

When I first came across the quote, “I hate writing; I love having written,” a saying attributed to Dorothy Parker, I understood the meaning immediately. Though I would never say I hate writing, I do know how difficult the process of writing can be and how wonderful it feels to have written something, especially a piece that comes together just as I’d hoped.

In my experience, the frustrating part of writing arises when what I have in my mind—the idea, emotion, image—doesn’t come across on the page as gracefully or creatively as I envision it. The process of writing, in those cases, is an experience in disappointment, and I leave it hoping that when I return, I’ll know just how to make my writing better.

That means the flip side—the most satisfying part—for me is when the words on the page become a piece of art, expressing what I want to say in just the way I want to say it. In rare instances, that satisfaction—that absolute joy—emerges in the process of writing, as the words spill out and my fingers can barely keep up and I don’t pause to self-edit because it all sounds good.

But usually, that satisfaction happens once I finish a piece, once I’ve poured work and time and effort into it and it’s finally done, done, done. Yes, capturing that elusive feeling of fulfillment means I love having written.

What do you think is the most satisfying part of writing?

PRACTICE

Write for fifteen minutes, either something new or part of a work in progress.

When you’re finished, please share your practice in the comments section—and let us know how it went. Did the words come easily, or was it difficult to get your point across? What do you think is the most satisfying part of writing?

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Melissa Tydell is a freelance writer, content consultant, and blogger who enjoys sharing her love of the written word with others. You can connect with Melissa through her website, blog, or Twitter.

62 Comments

  1. Pamela Hodges

    The best part of writing is the first moment you let your imagination direct your hands on the keyboard. The excitement of creating a character or writing a memory. Bringing life to an idea.

    Writing can tell someone you love them in a story. Words connect the heart.

    I wrote this story this morning. A story about the first time I met someone. You don’t find out until the end of the story who it is about.

    http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/2013/06/03/i-remember-the-first-time-i-met-her/

    Reply
    • eva rose

      My thoughts exactly. It is bringing life to an idea or a moment. Capturing with words someone or something special before it slips away so it may be shared with someone else. The consuming pressure to write will not be satisfied until thoughts transfer to paper. Thoughts are searching to find a connection. “Words connect the heart” … well expressed!

    • Pamela Hodges

      Yes Eva, writing it down before it slips away.Thank you.

    • Melissa

      Ooh, I like this too! The power of writing is the ability to share your ideas with others. Perhaps that is part of why I love having that finished piece — it’s something that can be shared and inform/entertain/inspire someone else.

    • Margaret Terry

      what a sweet tribute to your Mom – loved this as it brought back many childhood memories and makes me want a bowl right now! “I shaped the oatmeal into a mountain in my bowl. The brown sugar ran down the sides of the oatmeal like a volcano erupting.”

    • catmorrell

      I am with you. I like the moments of the idea. Scootin over to your link to check out your story.

  2. Eileen

    For me, the most satisfying part of writing is what I learn in the process…about myself, about God, about the world and people around me. Writing has helped me to live with my eyes a little bit more open.

    Reply
  3. Karoline Kingley

    Although I often experience that laborious sensation when writing, I must say I still love every part of the process. For me, I am most satisfied when I have written enough to where I can write down a chapter, and NOT have to reconstruct every sentence when I edit it again. It’s a great feeling when you can occasionally have those genius bursts of creativity that don’t require alteration. Of course, this privilege is only produced by persistence in writing.

    Reply
  4. Margaret Terry

    I love it when I wake in the morning with an idea or memory that prompts me to mine a story. I’ve found if I don’t do it right away, the idea fades so I try hard to scribble at least an outline of what it is that needs to be birthed. I don’t blog but I use my fb author page where I often write life snippets. and this morning I wrote this before I read the practice:

    On those dark rainy days at the cabin,long after we tired of Monopoly and the seventy fifth game “go fish”,one of my sons would ask “can we look at the quilt now?” The three of us
    would head for my bedroom and lie on our stomachs atop the turn of the century
    quilt I’d purchased at a garage sale. To collectors, it was called a Crazy
    Quilt, but my sons called it the Story Blanket. Crazy quilts are sewn by hand
    using stitches with simple names. Eye stitch. Bird track and feather stitch.
    The quilts are the bits and pieces of a life, their charm the fact that there’s
    no pattern to the pieces of cloth from a pair of dungarees, a party dress or
    grandma’s parlour drapes. In the corner of our quilt, someone had embroidered
    with yellow cotton thread, now faded, “May, 1898”. And that’s where our stories
    began on those rainy days…

    Me: “ I bet this red plaid wool triangle is from grandpa’s Sunday dress
    shirt, the one he asked to be buried in and since the family had no photos of
    grandpa, grandma snipped off a piece of that old worn shirt to remember him.”

    Michael: “How did he die, Mom?”

    Me: “I think he fell off the barn roof when he was fixing that hole.”

    Patrick: “Do you think this gray piece was from his pants?”

    That quilt gave us 10 years of stories, ten years of wonder. I think
    often think of the woman who took the time to save pieces of her family and
    wish I could tell her about the family from the future who loved hers…

    Reply
    • catmorrell

      Stunning. I love these kind of stories, the appreciation and gratitude for the simpler things.

    • catmorrell

      I found it and liked your page. Uplifting

    • Margaret Terry

      thx, Cathy! Saw you there…

    • Puja

      Lovely. I love how you turn something simple (as catmorrell said) into the centerpiece of a story within a story.

    • Margaret Terry

      thx, Puja – I had so much fun remembering those times as my sons are now 23 and 26 – I may just ask them if they remember any of our epic tales from that quilt.

    • R.w. Foster

      Wow. That sounds awesome. A friend of mine bought a quilt similar to yours at a yard sale and it inspired her to make one. Has your quilt done the same for you?

    • Margaret Terry

      no, I have never been good at sewing or small motor activities, I appreciate the work, but happy to have someone else do it!

    • Kelly Barr

      I love this. What a wonderful idea to create stories about the pieces of an old quilt that you do not know the history of.

    • Margaret Terry

      thanks, Kelly. Those were wonderful days…

    • purple dragon

      I find all well-crafted objects inspiring and evocative but quilts especially. I love this. Do you know Patricia Polacco’s “The Keeping Quilt?” A wonderful children’s book about an heirloom quilt and all it has seen through 5 generations.

    • Margaret Terry

      thanks – will look that book up – I collect children’s books in fact started out writing for children…

  5. PI▲TH▲BI▲

    When it comes to writing, I find that I am able to articulate things I did not even realize I was feeling. I am my most honest self when putting words on paper, and I find it liberating.

    Reply
  6. Missaralee

    Today was easy. These last several months? Not so much. When I write, I’m a captive of feelings. Not terribly productive for getting that novel done, but it keeps the notebooks filled with phrases. This is one of the first useable flights of fancy I’ve had in a while.
    “Error of Omission”

    Sometimes the most troubling error,
    The one that scrapes through your brain
    That makes your heart race
    And brings heat to your face
    Is the error of omission.
    I have an admission to make:
    I should have kissed you
    That night we were standing alone
    In a sunset and suntanned world of our own
    After a day that felt like a moment
    And a closeness we couldn’t hold down
    We were standing alone
    So close for one moment
    But when I realized we were falling
    My dream habit came back to me
    And jerked me out of entropy
    Into the outerspace behind me.
    I should have kissed you
    When the night air was flirting with the sky
    And you had that look in your eye.
    I could’ve gone for it,
    Taken the bull by the horns, as they say
    And showed you there was more,
    To sweetness than the light of day between us,
    Than all the conversations that keep repeating
    Through my befuddled and bewondered, coward brain.
    When I felt the pull of gravity I should have given in,
    But defiance in the face of the inevitable is my insanity and sin.
    I should have kissed you
    When my breath caught and my heart jumped
    When my ears roared and my brain stopped.
    I could’ve tilted up to meet you,
    Could’ve stood up on tip toes to taste you.
    Instead, I stammered and turned away,
    Using haste to cover my disgrace,
    At being such a dork about the fact
    That you? Are someone I actually long to kiss.
    You are someone I could see sailing in on a stellar wish
    Painting blushes on cheeks,
    Making me unsteady on my feet.
    You should have kissed me.
    I hope you know it too.
    I’m not letting you off the hook.
    We share this error of omission,
    And I’m just wishing,
    That I’m not the only one
    Who felt insane in the brain
    That feared this wouldn’t be the same,
    Voltage of affection as any other we’d seen,
    That we’d find a new level of electricity.
    I’m just hoping,
    You berated yourself just a little,
    For letting that moment slip
    Without our lips exploring
    That other form of communication.
    We could have exchanged our non-stop talking
    For an inexhaustible exchange of heat and lightning
    Of sweet and frightening whispered secrets
    Between chapped lips and sips of air.
    We should have had a meeting of lips.
    After all, our minds have been meeting
    For longer than we’ve spent dreaming
    Of whiskers on kittens and kisses on noses.
    Next time we meet,
    I’m not wasting any time.
    I’m correcting my error of omission.
    Watch out, because these lips are on a mission
    To prove a sweet hello is just as nice
    As a kiss goodnight.

    Reply
  7. Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

    The most satisfying of writing for me is to see how the work is growing. Sometime, I get up fighting with the Muse and not much is created,
    but I still write. Before, I started sometime after breakfast, the result: editing the written, obliterating, rewriting, but not much new stuff though. So, I had to make some changes. Now my phone wakes me up at seven, and I prepare a coffee while the laptop starts up. Then, I only open Word and start to write in any position I left the day before, or sometime, write down a new idea I had the night before, maybe a dream – by the way, it was a dream that gave me the theme of my book. After two hours of writing, my wife has the breakfast ready – lucky me – and I stop. In this way, I am able to create circa seven hundred words a day for my first novel, which I think is good. The rest of the day I have to edit and sometime translate the paragraph I have written in Spanish. Hell of a work! But what I most like about it is that I have a project that provides a sense to my free time. I hope soon to present the whole work.

    Reply
    • Missaralee

      I love that you have a steady routine of writing. I often wonder how much further along my work would be if I obeyed the alarm clock and spent the early hours with the muse. I look forward to your work being ready to share!

    • Adam

      I’m so envious. You have discipline! Personally, I like writing at night before I go to bed, but the morning is also great for creativity. I think it’s at those times that my mind is closest to sleep, and thus less critical.

    • purple dragon

      Finding time when writing is not going to be usurped by, say, the UPS man or the phone or the urgent errand is luxurious. A room of my own can be anywhere if I can find an hour of my own. I work best when I decamp to the coffee shop.

  8. Nick

    This wasn’t too hard, however I hate all my writing as soon as I finish!

    Trundling down the stairs, Winston made his way to the kitchen, the kitten chasing his dressing gown cord, stalking it like a tiny tiger. Winston sat down at the kitchen table and poured himself a cup of tea from the pot. He slotted in a
    couple of slices of bread and placed a knife over the peanut butter jar. For a
    moment, he sat, gazing blankly out of the window at the morning sun, which rose
    steadily over the dewy garden. Was it normal to have the same dream so many
    times? He wondered. He thought back over the details:

    I’m outside. The wind is strong and it blows up my pyjama legs causing my skin to pinch into goosebumps. I breathe deeply; I feel light. I seem to remember a
    faint whiff of sadness, but it’s only a memory. The atmosphere is now one of
    hopefulness. I look around the miserable streets surrounding me. Bins on their
    sides, their chests scraped clean by rats. Crisp packets and chicken and chip
    boxes scratch a route across the damp path towards the grass. I look up at the
    stars. I slowly walk across the road to the park. I stand in the middle,
    feeling the cold wind. I know it’s cold but I don’t feel it. A sudden long gust
    breathes over the shuddering grass. I look into the wind and inhale deeply.
    This time I walk into it. I jog. I run. I jump. My weight feels supported by
    the undercurrent and upwards I’m lifted. I arch my back into the wind and
    wriggle, like a dolphin, up into the night sky. The trembling grass below me
    watches in awe as I ascend. The buildings of the city in the distance watch on
    as I head higher and start to propel through the sky, outwards to the open
    fields of countryside. Darkness stretches out across the moon-drenched fields.
    Row upon row of bushes separate them, black from brown. No light here but that
    of the moon and a lonely farmhouse’s kitchen window. I soar past it all until
    it blurs in the corners of my eyes. The cliffs of the coastline approach and
    beyond, the ripple of the ocean, calmly beckons me out. I continue on, inhaling
    easily as I head out towards the ominous looking blue moon, hanging low on the
    horizon.

    Reply
    • Missaralee

      The tiny tiger chasing the dressing gown cord got a big smile from me. This is lovely writing. I like your style; I could read more. One tiny critique, watch out for copying speech patterns too closely in the narrative; some phrases don’t flow as well when written verbatim, such as “a couple of slices of bread.” The slight revision: “a couple slices of bread” reads cleaner. Just a preference really 🙂

    • Margaret Terry

      I really enjoyed this piece, so many rich descriptions to put me in the picture with Winston: “the kitten chasing his dressing gown cord, stalking it like a tiny tiger, I seem to remember a faint whiff of sadness, sudden long gust breathes over the shuddering grass.” You did a really good job at creating the feeling of a dreamscape with the way you had buildings and the landscape “watching” him ascend.This is good work, I hope you like it as much as I did!
      PS – are you British? Loved the English bits here…

  9. Bo Henley

    The most satisfying for me is the first draft – creating the characters, the plot, the arcs, building the tension to the catharsis. Worst part: Revising/editing…it’s like studying for an exam – I know what I should do, but my brain says “bored.”

    Reply
    • Adam

      Revising is hard for me. I usually wait weeks until I go back to change anything.

    • Margaret Terry

      first 2-3 revisions don’t bother me so much, in fact I usually end up laughing at myself and something that makes no sense at all – it’s the 8-9th time around that gives me a rash…

  10. R.w. Foster

    Something completely new from me:

    The opening chords of Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” caused the erotic dream to dissolve. He sat up, put on his glasses with his left and slipped the Bluetooth headset in his ear with his right. He tapped the button to answer. “Good morning, my beloved.”

    “Hey.” He heard the smile in her voice.

    “How was your night?” he said.

    “Oh, crazy. The babies decided they wanted to fly.”

    He chuckled. Her tales of her daughters delighted him. He couldn’t wait to meet them for the first time. “What did they jump off of?”

    “Everything. I swear they are crazy.”

    “Like their momma?”

    “Yup yup.”

    More laughter from him. She was wonderful, able to brighten his day unlike anyone else. “Hey, Baby Girl, guess what?”

    “What?” He heard the smile in her voice. This, more than anything else, told him how much she enjoyed this game of his.

    “I love you.” His voice dropped an octave as he lay back against his pillows.

    “I love you.” Her voice was softer than a few minutes ago.

    “You went girly, didn’t you?” Girly was what she called the feelings she got when he did stuff like this. She’d described it as being like a rush of heat in the pit of her belly, a surge of desire, a feeling of vulnerability, and a wave of love, all at once.

    “Yes.” Sheer pleasure, this time. It was fun knowing her so well.

    “Excellent,” he said. “I love causing that sensation for you.”

    “Good. Hold on. Slow old people around me.” He listened close. She’d soon start to cuss them out. “Hey, watch it, asshole! I’m drivin’ here!” He laughed hard. “Shit. I’m sorry, Rob. Old farts. It’s one of the perils of livin’ in Florida.”

    “It’s okay, Baby Girl. Just be careful.”

    “I am. It’s just Uncle Fester over here must have gotten his license in 1853.”

    She was close to losing her temper. She hated bad drivers. He had just the thing to distract her: more words of his feelings for her. “Hey, Jen. Guess what else?”

    “Huh?” She refocused her attention on the conversation. “What?” Her anticipation was palpable.

    “I am totally in love with you, and one hundred percent yours.”

    Reply
    • Margaret Terry

      this piece made me smile, their conversation felt real and exciting for both of them – loved the last line. Hoping to see this continue…

  11. Margaret Taylor

    Oh definitely the moment you type, The End, on a work. That’s the most satisfying part to me!

    Reply
    • Winnie

      I never get that feeling. I always continue editing it in my mind. They say you don’t finish something, you just abandon it. LOL.

  12. Phillip Anderson

    Great article! Thanks. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Adam

    I love getting lost in my train of thought. For me, writing is a much more intense way of reading where not only am I visualizing every word that is being written, but I am choosing one way of saying something over another. It’s a sort of intimacy with your imagination. Sometimes what people are wearing doesn’t matter, sometimes only their words. Sometimes people don’t speak and that’s all that they need to say. A sudden flashback can instantly change the direction and tone of a story.

    Also, I like reviewing my work in order to connect themes throughout the work. And to uncover themes, motifs, or symbols that I didn’t initially visualize.

    Beginnings and endings can be really tricky for me, but I love when they just appear out of nowhere.

    Today, the words came easily. It’s been a good day.

    A portion of “Your First Drink”

    We finished our drinks and went to the next bar. It was more of a club than a bar with electronic music pumping the dance floor with energy. We sat down. Sarah tried pulling Randy out to dance, but he had just ordered a beer and didn’t want to spill. I was scanning the dance floor for women that looked like they wanted someone to dance with. There weren’t any so the three of us went up stairs to a balcony that overlooked the dance floor and sat down.

    “So how did you two meet?” I asked.

    “Oh, that’s a funny story,” said Randy.

    “It was through some friends,” said Sarah. “We were each with our own group of friends and a couple knew a couple, so we all ended up sitting together at this bar, restaurant place. I thought Randy was interested in this other girl-”

    “And I thought Sarah was into my friend, Danny,” said Randy.

    “Well you kept on looking at Elaine,” said Sarah.

    “And you kept looking at Danny,” laughed Randy.

    Sarah laughed too and I thought that the two of them looked really cute together laughing. Randy put his hand on the table and grabbed Sarah’s and kissed it. That was probably the most affectionate thing I’d ever seen him do my entire life. He had never been really open about his feelings even during all our years of talking. He was always ready to tell a story, but there was a still a lot about him that I didn’t really understand.

    For instance, Randy was raised for the majority of his childhood life by his grandmother. She was a sweet women and also the only parental figure I’d ever known of his. His father ran out on his mother when he was just a baby, leaving him, his older brother and his mother by themselves. I’d never known his mother, but from the pictures I had seen of her, I could see the resemblance. The dark hair, dark eyes, and eyebrows were all the same. Randy’s square-shaped jaw must had been his father’s. But she had died from a heart-attack.

    One of the few things Randy told me about her was that he was the one that found her in her room on the floor. I don’t remember exactly when he told me this, but it was a long time ago, when we were really young, still in elementary school. He had told me one night as we were falling asleep in his room at his grandmother’s. We hadn’t been talking. I thought he had gone to sleep, but soon enough, he said my name and told me he was the one that had found her. He told me that he wanted me to know. I said thanks for telling me, but even saying those few words had been really hard.

    “We ended up back at my place that night,” said Randy, “all my friends had gone to their rooms to crash, and it was just us in the living room playing cards.”

    “It was kind of romantic,” Sarah said, “just us two having survived the night.”

    “And we were still drinking,” laughed Randy.

    “We slept together that night,” said Sarah, “and the next morning we went to a bunch of garage sales and then later a movie.”

    “And then we got dinner and you stayed over again.”

    “A couple days later, Randy told me that we should just tell people that we are dating to keep it simple.”

    I laughed. Randy was a man of few words. Nothing could seem more perfect.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      Nice story-telling style.

    • Adam

      Thank you!

  14. Madison

    The most satisfying thing about writing for me is the fact that it’s therapeutic. I should challenge myself more, but, at the same time, I don’t like forcing myself to say something when there is nothing I have to say. I write when I want to be heard.

    Reply
  15. John Fisher

    [Difficult day today. Tied up in knots, Anxious — lease ending, where do I move, out of frying pan into fire probably — . In any case this writing feels like the most productive thing I’ve done today. Words like pulling teeth, and to be honest I went quite a bit beyond 15 min. to make it coherent (I hope). I write about what I’ve experienced, changing names, fictionalizing as I go, hoping for peace and to understand better at a space of years and yes, to be “heard”, hopefully without humiliation or trespass of boundaries. I agree with you, Melissa, the *having written* is the most satisfying part. It’s worth it after everything.]

    ********************
    He released her, and she stepped back and turned slightly, looking wildly first in one direction, then the other, through the dusk toward the surrounding woods. She caught his hand and started toward the darkest of the forest behind her house. He held onto her hand but did not move from the low rock wall where he sat. She turned back and looked into his face, her hazel eyes wild and wondering and trying towards insistence. “Sherry . . . No.” She was so young. But then so was he. She walked with him a few minutes later to his car out front, and they embraced one more time. Past the long dark hair brushing his cheek, he saw a curtain flicker in the front window.

    He would never be alone with her again. That affair, he thought, was as much between she and her mother as between she and he.
    ***************
    Kimberly had not wanted a visitation, and the director had to do some selling to get him and her daughter to change their minds — they had been in rare agreement on this. “Think just a moment,” the man said, warming to his pitch, “about how Kim’s friends and the rest of her family are going to feel if deprived of this chance to say goodbye . . . .” He and Kim’s daughter acquiesced together. There would be the visitation.

    He stood alone, looking down at what he still though of as Kimberly. The woman he loved. Of is own volition seemingly, his hand lifted from his side, his arm extended, and while a muffled voice in the back of his mind screamed “*NO-O-O-O-O-O-O!*”, he touched her left wrist.

    That touch would acquire a life of its own, and it would haunt the darker regions of consciousness as a peculiar and specific and horrific kind of waking mini-nightmare. There was no softness of flesh. There was only the no-doubt chemically produced and enforced wooden unyieldingness of the inanimate. Not like a mannequin. Ten times worse than that, because this had been a vital and vibrant and loving and happy human being.

    When we love, is death in its many forms — fear, aging, the weight of the insistent banal necessary — ever far behind?

    Reply
  16. Kelly Barr

    The writing itself is the most satisfying moment for me. I sometimes struggle to come with an idea and I often dislike what I write, especially right now, as it’s been many years since I have written. I love writing and being lost in the story.

    I am not comfortable sharing what I wrote for practice today as it was a difficult day. I struggled for an idea and didn’t really like what I wrote, and as I am new here, I prefer the first thing I share to be something I, at least, like a little.

    Reply
  17. purple dragon

    For me, the most satisfying moments are when, in the process of revising, you uncover a new or deeper idea, and see what you really need to say. The muse may be at her most flamboyant when beautiful sentences just flow, but she doesn’t necessarily flee when the editing starts.

    I worked on the beginning of a chapter in my nonfiction book, for parents about teens and modern sexuality in all its permutations. No deeper and better ideas rose shining from this murky lake today, and the workaday condensing and improving word selection did not come easy. But onward: I learned from NaNoWriMo that showing up and writing something almost every day is the fastest way to get from here to the next flamboyant muse day.
    ———————————–
    Sometimes it’s hard to grasp what’s real in this new world, particularly for teens, when so much is always shifting for them. Is it just a fad, for high school girls to call themselves bisexual? Does the increase of sexualized messaging reflect, or cause, an increase in sexual ideas or activity for teens, or is it just lyrics and pictures? Are we as parents right to smell danger here? If our kids don’t conform to the usually expected behaviors for their genders, or are not attracted to whom we’d expect, what does that say, if anything, about us and our parenting?

    Smart people study these questions. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at the growing body of research. Having more knowledge about these topics won’t prevent us from reeling when the uncomfortable question or situation arises. That fight-or-flight response will still make our pulses race and our faces flush before our brain ratchets back from screensaver mode. But, in that first deep breath, some of this information may find its way into a useful answer or, even better, a useful question. “Knowledge is Good,” as Animal House has taught us. Some of it may be common knowledge in your world, and you may find yourself skimming or skipping through this chapter, but I have been surprised sometimes at how variable “common” knowledge can be.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      “For me, the most satisfying moments are when, in the process of revising, you uncover a new or deeper idea, and see what you really need to say.”

      I love when I resolve issues in my novel when I’m writing new stuff. Those epiphanies that link everything together.

      “But onward: I learned from NaNoWriMo that showing up and writing something almost every day is the fastest way to get from here to the next flamboyant muse day. ”

      It is best to be there when your ship comes in.

      Common knowledge and common sense are not common at all.

  18. David Z

    Personally, the most satisfying part of writing is the thought of delivering value to your intended audience. Aside from feeling glad after seeing your readers thank you for that piece, it feels equally great if/when they reward you for that.

    Presently I’m writing a mixed how-to and insights article on my subject, based mainly on my previous work. Sometimes it feels upsetting when I’m not seemingly getting my point across, other times it feels good when I finally get my thoughts out.

    Lately my issue is making sure I write as clearly, concisely, and to-the-point as I can. Alas, I don’t really have anyone to edit my work, so I make do with what I got and give it the best I have to give.

    Still, I’ll also be thankful for this site. It gives a chance to read feedback from others and see how/where I can (possibly) improve.

    Reply
    • Jennkn

      Your comment about needing to be clear and to-the-point is also a struggle for me. As the writer we pretty much know what we mean but it can get lost in the very words that are trying to convey that message. It is so important to have people read your writing for that reason. I am glad you have found this site!

  19. Jennkn

    Richard asked for this. He felt the cold tile against the thin insulation of his eight day beard and thought about his drive home: would it be hot and dry as always or would there be something different out there today? Would there be something as unexpected happening out there as there was in here? Here, where getting fired from his job as a paralegal suddenly meant getting five cold, knotted fingers to the face, not to mention the rest of him.
    It all started two weeks ago. Two very strange weeks of life past, life now written in stone, though it felt like molten lava: pliable but deadly. It began with Peggy. Peggy was the assistant to Richards assistant–yeah. If Peggy had been more like his assistant, bow-legged and slow witted, none of this would have happened. Because how could Richard resist her low sultry laugh? How could he resist the black sea of her hair and the green webbing of her eyes? He was caught like a fly in those eyes, buzzing and buzzing but getting nowhere. He never had a chance. Sure he was her boss and there have been greater men than he to take advantage of such position, case in point Evan Powers.
    Evan Powers, the heir to a spice fortune. A family three generations in, not including children, to the Bombay Imports empire, a very lucrative high end grocery supplier. Evan is also Richards boss at Smith, Dwyer and Smith a very high end real estate law firm. Richard had been lucky to land the job, it felt like the gods had smiled down on him, shown him special favor and said,”Sure, why not?” He was making a solid 18k per year at Smith, Dwyer and Smith yet he wasn’t making anything with Peggy. That is until two weeks ago when late at the office he had pretended to have permitted access to the stock liqueur cabinet and poured a few generous drinks for her and himself. Although he can’t exactly remember what happened after drink five he does know that he woke up at two am under the conference table half naked (some would nitpick and say half dressed being that he was still cinched in to his socks and tie) and not exactly alone. He went home and showered and went in to work feeling fairly accomplished but when Peggy came in forty minutes later he received nothing but the usual polite but sterile greeting. “Okay,” he thought, “why should anything change during office hours? That would be unprofessional and perhaps uncomfortable anyway.” But as the day and then days progressed it became clear to poor short heighted and near sighted Richard that in fact nothing between him and Peggy had changed at all. It was made crystal clear one afternoon in the coffee lounge when Richard happened upon what seemed to be a flustered Peggy and an overheated Powers. How could he have missed this, he wondered. A woman like Peggy could have any man she wanted. And though he may have had one unmemorable night with her, he could not expect her to deny the inherent pull of an even more powerful man like Evan Powers. Richard went into a deep reevaluation of self. He began humming pop tunes and dressing in orange. He stayed up late and woke up even earlier. He stopped shaving. And all this through a delirium of hot iced coffee. Then one unexpected evening as the firm was preparing for a huge trial the next day they were all called to stay late, possibly pull an all nighter, read the memo. Richard–was ready. He took a long shower in the buildings lower floor locker room, letting the hot water pound his skin into a ripe florid hue and as he passed the front lobby desk clerk he imagined pointing a set of pistol formed fingers right in the unassuming mans direction–kapow.
    Upstairs he was reformed. Filing and pulling information like a one armed bandit. He felt the blood thick inside his veins and compared himself to recent news clippings of LBJ. People were noticing, too. There were plenty of pats on the back and right ons coming his way. He even made prolonged eye contact with Powers and felt no hindrance or posturing from either side. And then, as always, there was Peggy. She had brought a hot stack of dinner plates back from the diner four blocks over and was passing out the orders. “Mutton on rye?” she asked the room. Richard raised a hungry hand, “Over here, Peggy.” She handed the sandwich to him and then as it slipped from her hand to his, smiled right at him, an insiders smile–kapow! He knew this was the recognition he had wanted and deserved these past two weeks and he was thrilled. He pondered on his good fortune for about six seconds until Peggy read the next order, “tuna on wheat.” and then he watched her walk, nearly skipping, over to Evan, drop the sandwich before him and kiss the silver haired bastard right on the mouth! At least it was probably the mouth, it’s hard to see when being blinded by rage.
    Twenty-five minutes and several broken bones later Richard is out on the pavement alone, unemployed and rotting in the harsh light of an evening sun. Years of good behavior suddenly undone for, it turns out, the young and beautiful Peggy Powers, fourth generation heiress to a spice fortune.

    Reply
    • Jennkn

      I definitely have a love hate relationship with writing. But over the last couple of years (especially through posts like this) I have been learning just how normal that is. Mostly, I write too slowly, poorly and infrequently. But I did have more fun with this practice. I like the noir style and did a spin off of that and I didn’t let myself take things too seriously today. Sometimes I just really need to relax to write something at all.

    • James Hall

      All I have to say is–kapow.

  20. Patience

    I love writing for the way it grabs hold of me and takes me somewhere I often don’t know until after I return. I have had this feeling since I was about 8 or 9, and it returns from time to time even now.

    Mostly I have written poetry “in one piece” = either it worked or it didn’t. I rarely reworked a piece, preferring to let it re-emerge in its own way and new form of itself if the message within it was strong enough to come again.

    Songs tended to take more effort because I didn’t have the musical training to capture them. I would have to work them over in my mind until they were memorable in word and tune. This has always been a more playful than serious space for me, a a couple have found form good enough to share in public without instruments.

    Cafe Jammin, where I first came across the performance poetry scene in the 1980s here in Melbourne Australia, had a magical atmosphere where it was often possible to capture something of the experience and read it out within minutes. This lead on to me running creative writing workshops where I often encouraged people to share their raw works as well as more shaped pieces. It helps develop the sense of audience more quickly before it becomes a mental challenge to step outside of your own words. It keeps the freshness of conversation, the ability to correct and clarify and improve.

    In recent years I have challenged myself to consider extended works that have been more rewarding to just flow from serious subjects than the structures and strictures of college essays. Now I am finding online forums where some of these discussions have also opened up. Wonderful after reading groups in person failed to cover the topics i suggested that were agreed to…. but something else always got priority. this is also more rewarding than the many years I spent writing to overseas penfriends in my teenage years. There is common interest and purpose that comes with maturity.

    And after all the great and extended outpourings, I love that I have one installation poem that I feel as a kind of skeleton from which I can draw out all manner of topics and activities with a wide range of people. I call this the Patience Grace Pathway to Peace and run workshops and teach others to facilitate it as well. http://patiencegracetrust.com/patience-grace-trust

    I love writing because to me it is never “done”.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’ve also felt that sense of creativity that arise when writers get together.

    • James Hall

      “Mostly I have written poetry “in one piece” = either it worked or it didn’t.”

      Ditto.

  21. Winnie

    For me the most satisfying part is when the story starts taking shape on the page. It can be soon after you start, after an hour, or much later, with when you reread your first attempt. That’s when I sit somewhere else, with a cup of coffee. Taking this breather creates some distance. I read with fresh eyes, and a red, or green, or violet, pen in hand, scribbling quickly between the lines
    whatever flashes across my mind. Then I read everything again, to get the feel and rhythm of the ‘new’ story emerging. I continue the cycle of rereading,
    revising, rereading, while the ideas are still flowing.

    The following, part of a WIP, I wrote with the first pass.

    Back home Marina had the feeling she’d escaped from something.
    In Europe shed’ bumped into Greg at a club where they were cheering on their national sports team. Going to the stadium itself was way beyond their means. They had to be satisfied with watching the game on TV in a crowded bar, beer in hand. And that beer had to be nursed for the full ninety minutes of the game. There money didn’t stretch as far as a second round.
    It was after her first year there, when the novelty of a new country had worn off,
    that the whole place got to her – the cold, the constant hunger, the smothering
    closeness of people to each other that reduced her personal space to a few
    inches instead of feet. She closed her eyes and felt the winter sunshine enclose her in a warm film.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Now I am curious to know what happens.

    • Margaret Terry

      I like the tone of this and the description of how Marina sees Europe after she returns home – this sentence is great “the smothering
      closeness of people to each other that reduced her personal space to a few inches instead of feet.”

    • Winnie

      Thanks. We write some of our best stuff with the first pass. Unfortunately we often lose it through over-editing.

  22. Shelley DuPont

    I think once I’ve found my center from which all my thoughts begin to flow. Usually, I have an idea of what my topic is, but finding that perfect center of balance takes me some time to discover.

    Reply
  23. Adam Andrus

    I find it quite satisfying to free-writing in first person..Much like a diary entry, only fictitious and without editing. I’ll write and write and around a thousand words I have written a line or an idea that I think is interesting enough to form into a short story. It’s much fun and less frustrating than looking at a blank page and deliberating with yourself over whether or not you should write about blah blah blah.

    Reply
  24. James Hall

    If you think writing words is rough, try writing music. If what makes a writer a writer is being able to write when they don’t want to write and it applies to writing music, I will never be a composer. I’ve tried to write music so many times, attacking a piece of music multiple times. I may have finished one or two pieces like this. I have maybe 50 incomplete pieces of music. The other seven or so came immediately on the spur of the moment. A lot of the times I knew the music was going to be great even before I wrote it and even though I couldn’t hear it, I could FEEL it was going to be great. The stars were in alignment and I was ready to write. Every time I felt like this, I wrote the piece from beginning to end with no hangups.

    When I’m writing music like that, all the world is right.

    Boredom usually inspires boredom. I can’t write music when I’m bored. It NEVER happens.

    Every time I have written like that, I brought something to the table. Pain, fear, worry, joy. When I bring my emotions to the table, sometimes those emotions go away and are weaved into the piece of music. I’m left with a feeling of wholeness and a piece of music that gives me the chills when I think, “I wrote that.”

    I’ve also found, if you are not there trying to write it, you don’t notice that moment when you are ready to write. I think I have felt mild to moderate versions of this when writing words. I’m sure those moments exist in writing as well.

    At least with writing, I can still write when I’m not “in the zone”, Even stuff that is good.

    I’m addicted to the euphoria and magic of expression. If no one ever knew that my words or music existed, it doesn’t matter. I just want to keep experiencing the magic.

    Reply
  25. Tosin

    Hi, I love writing and have been doing so since I was a kid writing in journals, letters etc. But never really done it for public consumption except for my immediate family. I recently started blogging and more people get to read my articles. So now I can relate with the love-hate relationship with writing. The last couple of weeks I started to write an article for my blog and I became stuck -I was not satisfied with what I had written and did not know how to proceed. So I kind of left it alone and hated the thought of going back to it, but my mind was always there. However, today I went back to continue with the work and ideas flowed seamlessly. When I was done, what then flashed through my mind was “I have a love-hate relationship with writing”. SO I decided to google that sentence to see if other writers had similar experience. Imagine my relief to see your article among a host of others!

    Reply

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