…of a writer. Yes! The good things!

Today I give you my list of the sweetest rewards of being a writer. Accompanying them are shots of a recent adventure in ice cream sandwiches during a deliciously unseasonable heat wave. The ice cream is Backyard Mint, from Jeni, of course, and the cookies are store-bought because: busy writer.

1. Finding inspiration in everything. Fueling my creativity with things around me is the best way I know to feel good. Better than cake, even. Three things made me want to sit down and write before I had to go to work this morning: a perfect toddler hand print on the window of our studio, highlighted by morning sun; hearing about an eighty-five year old woman who wrote her first novel; a nest of golden baby spiders strung between leaves on our rose bush.


2. Getting to make things better. Having the luxury of time to edit and revise and redraft and even discard. When I was twelve and a dedicated handwriter of epic tales, I thought the best stories should just come out of the writer whole, without needing revision. Needless to say I spent a lot of time trying to edit in my head, which didn’t work at all (for me, anyway). I learned that the more revision the better, at least in terms of refining and polishing the work. Now I think I like the editing process a bit more than the creating part. Don’t get me wrong–I love a seductive New Idea. But there is such huge satisfaction in taking a third draft and finally seeing how to put the pieces together. Like I’ve been subconsciously moving to this place all along, but needed to be here to see it.


3. Working with amazing people. I’m so impressed by the talented and hardworking people who support us writers. Agents, editors, marketers, publicists and many more–they all do so much to make our work better. It’s their job to help us be writers. How great is that?


4. Reading for writing. Sometimes I just want to read for reading’s sake, but I often find myself thinking about how the thing I’m reading is put together. How did they pull off that climax? Why is this passage so creepy? How can I love and hate this character in equal measure? Every book or poem or essay is a trove of lessons to be learned–wait, do I have my teacher hat on right now? Yes. Sorry. I forget to take it off.


5. Language love. If it wasn’t already clear from my love of Haiku, I’m a word nerd. Finding the perfect word for a needy sentence is soul satisfying. Adjectives used as nouns? Be still my heart. This might be why poetry is an old flame I can’t stop thinking about as I move from one novel to the next…

What’s your favourite thing about being a wordsmith?