Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why We Do What We Do

I think about this a lot. Writing is hard. Not coal-mining hard, but hard. And thrilling. And hard. And endlessly fascinating. And hard. To reach down into your gut and heart and say what you really feel. But wait, this is nonfiction, right? Just the facts, ma'am, and all that? Well, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know most of us here don't feel that way.

One of the things I love about being a writer is having a community of writers. Community with a capital C is important in any field. In our field, it's a particularly shiny gift. I find so many writers I know to be fantastically different than I and deliciously the same. There are crucial things we share. The way we feel about literature and literacy and readers and words and why we are compelled to keep writing. Why do we do what we do? We've talked about a desire to express ourselves, to get the story right, to shine the light on someone or something extraordinary. It's all that. And more. It's passion.

Just the other day, right here on INK, Jim Murphy was agreeing with me (even though he wasn't talking to me!). He wrote: "Years ago I realized that if I can't sustain a passionate interest in a topic over the years required to research, write, revise, and revise again and again, collect images, answer editorial and production questions, that the text would reflect this."

Exactly. And it's not only the text that would reflect this absence he's referring to--it wouldn't satisfy our drive to do what we do. And when it gets hard--and telling a real story as accurately as possible while infusing it with passion and meaning (for reader and writer), is hard--we have that community to nourish us.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is: Thank You to all who make it possible for us to continue to do what we love to do. The community within, the greater community. It is community in all forms that make me thankful year-round, and reflective at year's end.

3 comments:

jamesehs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Harness said...

Your post, Tanya, leaves me thinking that community serves as leavening, that without it, writing & its necessary solitude cannot rise.

Cheryl Harness said...

Your post, Tanya, leaves me thinking that community serves as leavening, that without it, writing & its necessary solitude cannot rise.