write what you love

Yesterday I posted my opinion that artists should create from love, because we certainly need more love in the world. Today I want to write more personally about that, although it will be difficult for me. I come from a culture in which self-praise is considered shameful. I actually have no intention of praising myself, or my writing, but I do want to talk about loving what I create.

I always write my stories from love. The feeling of love within my heart, as well as the intellectual love I have for the story concept itself. Maybe that's because I've lived a dreamy kind of life on the edges - I've never had luck fitting in with regular society, so I'm used to pleasing myself rather than other people. Or maybe it's that I consider my craft to be a sacred practice of spiritual connection. In any case, I write stories until they are either finished or I realise I don't truly love them, at which point I turn toward something else.

Because of this, I'm happy with what I have put into the world so far. I have a special love for Driftways - I know it is not perfect, but it resonates with my heart.




This morning, I read The Witch Woman, which is a story that wanted to be told for many years before I finally got it down for Driftways. I could tell you that I appreciate the story for its own spirit, which mostly has nothing to do with me, and that would be true. But I also appreciate little things I did, writing it, that I didn't think I was capable of. In particular, I wonder at my restraint, because that story out of all of them was inclined to swell into something wilder and darker. I know it could be improved, but that doesn't prevent me from seeing the love in it.

Often, when I'm tired, or feeling low, or needing to remember myself, I dip into The Storyteller of Cyriae, which is my favourite of all. (I suspect I just read it for Nettle.) That's one story where I see love given back to me.




I don't say that my writing is great. I do the best I can with it, and I treat the process with respect and devotion. That is all I can tell you. But it does contain real love. And so I can feel relatively good when I look back at it, or at least comfortable in the choices I made. Of course, I always want to go on editing, polishing - but my point is that I don't regret the heart of my storytelling. I've tried writing for other people before, and it was a disaster that left ashes in my soul. It's why I don't have beta readers. I'm old school about that. (Some decades ago, Anne McCaffrey advised me that showing your writing to anyone before it was ready to present for publication was mere vanity!) I write what I want, what I love, in the way the story asks to be told.

When it comes to Deep in the Far Away,  things are more fragile because I have to keep moving forward with it, no lingering, no luxuriating, no honing things over and over until I either find the pure core of them or discard them as being imperfect. Worrying always about the technicalities and the readers. I fall out of love with it every Wednesday and Sunday. But by Monday, in weary privacy as I begin to ravel a new chapter, I remember again why I chose this story, and how I feel about Emma, and again I find the love which fuels all that worry and moving forward.

In real life, I am shy and I constantly nag at myself, complain about myself. But writing gives me the opportunity to draw from simple love and shape something out of it. I would never, ever want to betray that by writing for money or fame or to take advantage of a popular trend. For other people, it's different, and that's okay. And sure, I'd like to have money and fame! It's just not why I write. If it's why you write, then I'm glad you know what matters to you. We all love differently. This is how it is for me.

10 comments:

  1. I love your writing, and I'm glad that it comes from this place. I have fallen behind in my Deep in the Far Away chapters, but I look forward to catching up soon. I say, keep doing what you're doing! Xoxo

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  2. Sarah, I found this very interesting...how and why you write what you do. I can tell you write from your heart, I feel the passion...in your characters, the way you write, the words you choose, the links you share, even your blog designs...


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  3. how you write is why i read you, and why i love you. heart stuff feels strong and fragile all at the same time.

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  4. You're writing is so beautiful sarah, it always touches me. I feel the love in your words, like it makes them shine. I wish again that I could buy your books as paperbacks, so I could hold them in my hands and look at those beautiful pictures, really savor it all. I find it a little tiring to read on the computer, so I converted your books to kindle, but then your lovely pictures were black and white.

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    1. Thank you Anne. That problem with the photos is why I dont make my books available for Kindle. They do translate to tablets (when read in landscape view) but Kindle doesn't allow for the font I chose, the layout I chose with specific design and reading considerations in mind, and also the photos don't work.

      So people do print the books off so they have a hard copy. I wish I could have them printed as proper paperback but that would add a massive production cost which (a) would drive the price right up and (b) would spoil the point of the books, which is that they're fundraisers :-)

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  5. Yes. I understand. I need to get myself a tablet, and also print out your lovely words. I don't think it cost anything to get printed books though, hmm, or at least not a lot. I think when you sell them the company takes a little bit of the profit. It seems very easy now to self publish, even printed books. But I understand that these are fundraisers. Thank you for writing, and the beauty you share.

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    1. Unfortunately it does cost quite a bit, at least the quality options I checked out, and also is quite an involved process for design etc. Then there is the matter of postage. I did consider it a couple of times and decided it was beyond my budget, and also would cost more than most readers would be willing to spend. Plus the books are not-for-profit, so a printing company taking some of the funds would water down our purpose, alas. Otherwise I would definitely do it as I'd love to have my books available as hard copies. <3

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    2. Oh that's sad, that it's so expensive :( Thanks for explaining it to me. I will make my own little book I think.

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    3. I mean from your blog posts :)

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