Joy

I have been reading lots of articles about how to write novels. No matter how many one has written, you can always learn something. But, in a recent article the author talked about the drudgery of writing. The theme was that writing is a long, grueling task. One is rewarded only by getting to the end of the book. I thought to myself, how wrong that is. That’s certainly not how I read a novel. It’s as much about the trip as it is about the destination. Right?

So, I want to say to those who aspire to write, don’t be deterred by such a sentiment. Writing is, for me, about the trip as well as the end of the travel. If you don’t find delight in writing, it may not be for you. Each night when I sit down to incorporate the days thoughts into the pending manuscript, there is a joy and excitement. If my body wouldn’t protest, I would feel I could go on and on. I laugh at the mirth in a paragraph and cry at the poignancy. Each new character I build becomes a friend for better or worse. I travel to each land and venue and enjoy all the scenes. I experience the danger and angst of the characters. But, I know of their honor and commitment. I have lost a few good characters along the way, Serge, in The Last Sicarius,  comes to mind. And Uncle Sonny. I grieve for them. They are not forgotten. Michael even made it back from apparent death in The Last Sicarius  to redemption in 7.  Isn’t that the way life is?

Writing is work…hard work at times. My word count target for a completed novel is ninety-five thousand words. My first novel, Judas the Apostle, I re-wrote twenty times. You can do the math. But, it’s never grueling. Writing the dialogue for Robby, the seven year old boy in 7, was so up-lifting I could have gone on and on. But, that’s part of writing, knowing when to quit. So, when people tell you that writing is drudgery, know that they are not writers but people who teach or try to teach writing. To reach inside oneself and to pull out a novel whether it takes six months or six years is a form of joy few are privileged to know.

May you be so blessed.

 

 

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About vrmayhalljr

Van R. Mayhall Jr. is the senior partner in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm where he practices corporate and business law and handles selected litigation. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, he was educated at Louisiana State University and Georgetown University. He and his wife, Lorri, have three grown children and enjoy boating on Lake Pontchartrain.
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