Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a mental game.

The great Yogi Berra once said, "Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical."
I think something similar could be said about writing. "Writing is ninety percent mental, the other half is hard work."
I think I have some ADD tendencies. I don't say that lightly. My mom has long known of this tendency. When I was in labor with my son she remarked upon it. (My daughter was an emergency c-section with no labor, so I didn't experience real labor in childbirth until my second child.)
Deep in the throes of induced labor and nearing the delivery, she said to me, "I think we've finally found something that takes all your attention."
Aside from childbirth, there are two things that take all my attention. Reading and writing. I think, because reading was one of the things in my childhood that could hold my attention, I gravitated toward it. I read voraciously, sinking into make-believe worlds that captured me completely.
When I started writing stories myself, I found the same complete absorption. When I sink into my fictional world, everything around me disappears.
But, the creation part, the sinking into the fictional dream, isn't all there is to writing. There's another part, the part that is plain, roll-your-sleeves-up, spit-on-your-hands, and dig-in hard work. The learning of the craft. The wrestling with knotted plots. The writing classes, workshops, how-to books, rounds of edits, and striving to get better.
Fortunately, in addition to a bit of ADD, I also have a passion for learning new things and conquering some new mountains.
Writing, for me, is the best of both worlds and plays into two really strong personality traits I have.
What about writing fits your personality?


  1. Great post! I tend to be a loner...not that I don't have lots of friends...but I'm okay with being alone. I need alone time and get irritable if I don't get it. :) So solitude is what fits my personality.

  2. I didn't know that about baseball! I don't understand what part of that sport is mental. Don't you just swing the bat and run? *grin*
    Like Sherrinda and you, I love getting alone and being deeply absorbed in a story (mine or someone else's)
    With writing, I also like the adventure and the emotions that go with it. There's hard work, but I love a challenge so that appeals to me too.

    Cute post!

  3. I think that I need writing at this point in my life. It's my time to focus on something besides my children and the demands of motherhood. So I'm grateful that God's given me a creative mind and the ability to "escape" into another world for a little bit each day! :-)

  4. What about writing fits my personality? Well, it sure isn't the waiting=P

    Hmm... maybe the part where I can escape into my own corner of the universe, if only for a few hours. Or thirty minutes, as is often the case lately.

  5. Interesting post - I agree. Drafting isn't really "work" so much to me as "play"'s what I do for fun. Like you, I sort of just sink into my fictional world, and hate to crawl out when it's time to get some sleep.

    Revisions are the "work" part for me - again, like you said, it's good that I like to learn new things, or I'd never be able to do the necessary revisions & editing. It's becoming more enjoyable though, so maybe after I get through a few books I'll settle into that as well. I'm sure a publishing contract will go a long way toward my motivation with that. ;-)

  6. I write to help others, but I also write because it's the most challenging experience I know.

    The quality of a novel rests on so many variable that mastering all of them at once is a very tricky task.