How do you write? How do you read?

@postaday 280; #postaday2011.

I have another blog that you will never see unless I publish the whole shebang at once, a huge gathering of words wondering why. It’s embarrassing. Writing is embarrassing. Watching people read what I write makes me blush, makes my heart race, makes me run to the bathroom with uncertainty. I cannot stand it until someone says it’s OK. Well, more than OK. More like, “I really liked that story…that blog entry…that tweet (all 140 characters of it?). Or that they loved it. Or that they felt compelled to action. Or that they felt compelled to write themselves.

As a result of my writing, I have an extremely difficult time reading bound books. I loathe walking into Barnes and Noble and I’m relieved I no longer have to endure Borders Books and Music. It fills me with shame. All those books lined up like soldiers with so much to say. Many I love, like Thomas Hardy‘s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” and “Far from the Madding Crowd.”  I love “Beowulf,” I love “The Canterbury Tales,” I still hold love in my heart for my sophomore English literature teacher in high school, who brought these old stories to me. I love well edited stories. I guess who or what I love are those who edit. I welcome edits in my own work. When I was first getting started, I resented edits. They stifled my voice. But now, I back off from the words, and I let editors have their way. With me. With my words.

I’m glad I read such books before I started writing for a living. I know I can go back to them, and love them still, because they are perfect. It is the imperfect that sells well that blows my mind. Where are the standards? And that’s my problem. I write, I edit myself, I question myself, I embarrass myself, I select all, I control x. And then I think of all the other writers who should have done the same. Yet there they sit, pool side in the shadow of their Beverly Hills mansions writing schlock for the masses without standards. Laughing all the way to their online bank accounts.

It’s torture.

What do  you want to read when you pick up a book? I cannot write romance. It’s embarrassing.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. I KNOW! I occasionally read a book that is poorly done, and think, “I could do better than that,” and then I have a vision of the author next to their Beverly Hills mansion’s pool. What are we doing wrong, Paula?! Let’s write us some shlock and get it published!

  2. The happy book author in their Beverly Hills mansion is a dream
    The happy screen writer in her Beverly Hills mansion is a dream.
    Writers write, they fret over their publisher’s/producers directions. They worry about what others think of them and they misspell words. They write on deadline, and must fulfill their audience’s expectations.
    They are often typecast and spend all that they earn.
    They are people, Unique, yes, but they share many of the biological, physical and emotions that part-time and much less known writers have.
    What do I read? My critique partners works and browse B&N for one book i can open and be captured by…. hasn’t happened.

  3. One of the sad things about becoming a “professional” writer is findiing a love turning to vinegar. But shame about not being one of the literary greats is sadder. Helped me when I just wrote for my pleasure and the pleasure of those who might stumble onto what I have to say.

    Shame as an emotion is designed to keep us from doing the unforgivable. Please try to keep it from holding you back, I evny your writing ability and enjoy reading so. Don’t give up hope, you may get where you want in time, but do try to stop the self abuse of poorly based shame. Grannykat’s WOO words.

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