What I'm Reading Now: The Breakout Novelist, by Donald Maass
The answer should be simple, but it's taken me forever to publish this post. Little background first: Donald Maass will be one of the guest speakers at the upcoming April writer's conference that I hope to introduce myself to, so I figured what better way to learn about Mr. Maass and challenge my current draft than pick up his most recent book? He's a literary agent with more than thirty years' experience and one of the names in publishing I most admire for all the time he takes to truly help authors, both published and not, take their work to the next level.
In the chapter I just finished, Mr. Maass asks, why are you writing your current novel? Back in March I would have replied with something like, "Because I love to write and I have to do it!" But any writer would answer that, and it hardly tells you anything about me. Writing is all about reaching deeper, something I've struggled with because it's putting pieces of me on paper that I'm much more comfortable keeping hidden. But I've realized I wrote The Novel because despite that, there's something rewarding about the process. They're just fictional characters, but they make choices I'd be far too cowardly to make, they push themselves harder than I'll ever have to push myself, and they persevere despite everything I throw at them. It's a chance to explore the answers to 'what if' questions from the safety of my couch. It's about discovery. It's about vulnerability.
So if you're a writer, whether it's a book or a blog or a diary, why do you write? No, really?