5 Reasons writing is like sex

1. The new, shiny thing

The spark of a new project is always exciting. The seed of attraction between two potential lovers, between author and idea, generates an incredible amount of creative energy. Excitement levels rise. There is a rush of interest in this shiny new thing that has caught our attention and we rush toward it with enthusiasm and hope. This
attraction feels so good, it takes up all the vacant space in our minds and then some. In writing, as in sex, there needs to be some chemistry going on – otherwise why bother?

2. The first time isn’t always the best

It’s a common experience that, after all the anticipation, the flirting, the scheming about how to pin this shiny new thing down, the first draft doesn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to. There are moments when it shines, when the words come together in ecstasy, but usually it includes moments that are clumsy or a little awkward. Words and hands miss their mark, they aren’t quite tuned into the original spark that brought the pen to the paper, or the lips to the cheek. Fantasy and reality
meet and the result is not quite what we were hoping for. It’s close, it’s good, but you know it could be better, and there is enough sweetness in it to make us want to come back for more.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes the stars align, the muse descends, and the coming together of author and idea, of lover and lover, brings about a rare first moment of pure perfection. If you have an experience like that, treasure it, because it is rare.

3. Practice makes perfect

With clumsy first draft in hand, we move into the next phase of the relationship. Undaunted by the clumsiness of our first attempt, we want to try again, we want a second (and third and fourth) chance to make it the elegant experience we imagined it to be. We know the perfection is there, if only we can discover how to reach it.

Welcome to the joyful work of writing and sex. Practice.

Love making and writing are both crafts. It takes understanding and a bit of training and discipline to do them well. We need to get to know our object of desire, our shiny new thing, and coax the initiating spark into a flame. So we explore, ask questions, spend time with our idea or lover and learn what it will take to make them sing. Pretty
soon that awkwardness is dissolving into the pleasure of an idea coming to fruition.

4. It’s better with a sense of adventure

Predictable writing is dull writing. Predictable sex is dull sex. With the basics of the craft under our belt we have a strong foundation to be bold from. What makes the process of new love and words so exciting is the courage to step outside the comfort zone. Beyond the boundaries of what we know is a thrilling place of invention and surprise. Here, if we are brave, we can explore new territories, discover new delights, connect with the muse. Here we have the freedom to make a few mistakes, to laugh at them and learn from them. Here is where practice truly does manifest perfection and
that golden moment we dreamed of can become our reality.

5. The after-glow

As we close the pages of a good book, as we add the final touches to our brilliant fiction, as we snuggle close to our new lover, we are swamped with a sense of well being. Satisfaction is the hallmark of a creative work that has grown from seed, into sapling, into blossom, into full fruit. And the fruit is full of juice, rich and sweet and
perfect. And nourishing.

This is the best part of writing – when you know you’ve produced a work that is true to the first spark that attracted you. When you read it back and you know you’ve put your all into it and you feel content, fulfilled, uplifted. Writing, like sex, is a creative act that can bring about feelings of anticipation, allure, seduction and release.

Vivre le l’amour. Long live words.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gillian
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 16:24:37

    Still reading you even thought I am not working in that stultifying place! Gillian

    Reply

  2. residentjudge
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 15:01:45

    Terrific post, Kate.

    Reply

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