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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Guest Post by Heather Herrman


As an extra bonus for you today, I am happy to welcome Consumption author Heather Herrman herself! Take it away, Heather!

WRITING THROUGH, NOT TOWARDS

My first book was just published. I am above the moon, over the stars excited, and yet…pub day was not the best day of my life as a writer. Far from it. Let me tell you why.

I went to graduate school for Creative Writing in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where, along with numerous other miscreants, I drank copious amounts of beer, fell in love, and talked a lot about things like “charged objects” and “unreliable narrators.” We were all young (in heart and writing careers if not in body), hopeful, and full of naivete with regard to our future prospects as writers.

Which is why when our professor, the ever-incredible Robert Boswell (the Boz) said the following: “the best part of writing is writing,” we all gave each other the side-eye and laughed it off.

Yeah, right, Boz.

We were there to get noticed. We were there only as a short stop before writing THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. Some of us just might have done it, (Casey Gray, I’m looking at you). Most of us haven’t. Many of us stopped writing altogether. Which, at the time, seemed like an unthinkable prospect, a sin against all that was and could be our very nature.

Until, of course, life happened. We graduated, we got full time jobs, we had kids, we moved, we moved again. We dealt with mortgages, flooded basements, and harsh publishing markets. We experienced job markets overflowing with graduates who held the same degrees and meager but hard-won publishing credits as ourselves. We settled for adjuncting as we waited out openings for a full-time jobs. We switched careers entirely. We survived. Writing became a luxury.

Which is bullshit. Writing isn’t a luxury, it’s work. Even when we love it. This is something I have to keep reminding and teaching myself. It was only when I finally reminded myself of this and started writing just a little bit each day, whether I felt like it or not, whether I had time for it or not (and let’s be honest, I mess up, I miss days, I fall on my face) that I found an agent and, after three years of heartache, a publisher. But really, what was better than that was finding the writing.

The publication process of a novel is really, really long. You go through draft after draft, edit after edit, all of which keeps you from getting to actually write new stuff. Working with publishers is really cool, and it’s really necessary, but after going through it, I found that Boz was right all along. The best part of writing is writing.

If any of you out there are writing or thinking about writing, you’ll probably have been where I’ve been, which is dreaming of publication. But here’s the thing. It happens….and then you go on. It doesn’t fix anything or set anything else up for you as a writer. You still have to find a way to write for the sake of writing.

If you’re always writing towards—towards a complete manuscript, towards the final draft, towards publication, towards awards or recognition or positive reviews—you’re going to miss the writing through. You’re going to miss the true joy of making writing a part of your daily routine, a part of your life, a part of your core. You’re going to miss getting lost in that messy tangle of words and then finally breaking through to hit the clear spot.

So here is what I remind myself: Today, my book comes out, and it’s a really, really good day.

But yesterday, or the day after tomorrow, or the day when my son has decided to stick yet another hundred dollar computer cord in his mouth as a chew toy and I read a really shitty review of my book, but I still manage to write anyway, even if it’s only a few words—that is a great day.


Write through. Write through and through and through, and eventually you’re gonna find what’s on the other side.

To hear more from Heather Herrman or to check out her work, visit her website www.heatherherrman.com. There, you’ll find a schedule of the other stops on the CONSUMPTION blog tour along with exclusive videos exploring the topics of writing and horror.

Big thanks to Heather for being here today and to the folks at TLC Book Tours and Hydra for setting this up. 



1 comment:

Diane Coto said...

Hi, Becky - Always great to meet the authors and hear their perspectives. I've seen Consumption all over the place, so yes, after all the struggle of writing, I'd say it's a success. Well done, Heather! :)