Courtney S. Barr

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Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Friday, June 14, 2013

You don't read a book because you like it...

Headphones? Check.

Favorite Writerly Playlist? Check.

Fingers Flexed? Check.

Beverage? Check.

Mentally Ready to Attack all Plotlines/Characters? Err…yeah, that ‘character’ hollered at me last night…she’s mean.

Are you prepared for today’s mind blowing truth: Writing is work.

There is definitely nothing like putting words to page, whether for your personal, private enjoyment or for a story you hope to share with the world. But don’t let one single writer fool you. It takes work.

I sometimes wander the aisles of book stores and get completely suckered in by how many books one author has penned. I find myself pausing, reading titles, looking over covers and exploring the plot lines of each trilogy, stand alone, or series that he/she has birthed. I wonder about the hours, the pulled hair, and the scared dog under the couch, the husband/wife begrudgingly asleep while the glow from the computer urges them to wake up, and of course I wonder about the state of mind the author is in NOW. Are they content with these works? Did they want to share so much of themselves or did the domino keep pushing?

I wonder at their brilliance. Yes, I know people can easily say that every single book is not award winning, life changing prose, but for someone, somewhere the words in each book published struck a chord. Isn’t that why we write?

I watched a movie just this week while being stuck at home sick, drugged and definitely not ready to fight that mean girl character I mentioned above. In the movie a main character hates a certain teenage set of books, he thinks they’re dribble. He even questions the girl he has feelings for because she found pleasure in the book. He proceeds to say “You don’t read a book because you like it.” I burst into laughter during this serious onscreen argument. He is a literature snob and well she calls him on it.

After calling him a snob she defines her reason, but not in detail. She, his love interest, does not defend the book on its prose, plot, or structure instead she simply explains “It was fun to read, an escape. It was enjoyable.”  He is baffled by this. She tells him “You think it’s cool to hate things but it’s not. It’s boring. Talk about what you love and keep quiet about what you don’t.” This, this line, this singularly brilliant line brings me back to my topic of writing is work.

Yes, it is, it is hard, it is time consuming, mind boggling, and honestly there is nothing else that will press your mental limits like words on a page. BUT it discovers, it explores, it grows, it denies, it proves, it inspires, it creates, it destroys, it saves, it reminds each and every person who turns the page that life is about change, about seeing things, about believing and about our individuality.

If you read it because you must then you end up liking it, is it a bad book? No.

If you read it because the populous love it and you don’t like it, is it a bad book? No.

Someone loved it and wrote it. Someone read it and shared it.

Someone worked until their eyes were red and dry, they toiled, and they spent grueling hours on characters that you may never know, who died before finding the first page.

They worked. They worked until they were spent.

The girl in the movie is right, ‘talk about what you love, keep quiet about what you don’t.’There is so much cynicism and negativity in this world, we often let it filter into our craft, to spread like a virus and perpetuate stereotypes of hateful, rude, arrogant writers. We are all working to create something we love and can be proud of, why waste words complaining? Every part of the process should be enjoyed, even if you have to enjoy it ironically, because someone out there is aching for your story, yep, they want to read your words; so yeah the work is hard but man is it worth it.



  1. Yup, it's work, but if you do what you love, life is amazing. I suppose the goal then becomes to love what you do, eh?

  2. So true! Take so much effort. And time! Which I wish I had more of.

    What's the movie you referred to?

    Good stuff. Get back on and post some more. =P

  3. This is a very good post. I write the story that is inside me, the way I like it. And then I let it go. I am tired of worrying over whether someone likes it or not, I do. I HOPE someone enjoys it, but as long as I do, all is not lost. happy blitzday to you.


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