Monday, February 21, 2011
For the Love of It with Guest Blogger: J.F. Jenkins
Meet author J.F. Jenkins today at the Book Boost.
Here's what she had to say about writing for the love of it...
Back to the Roots: Writing Because You Love It
Being an author is not easy. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with the art. I work with a lot of people who come from different paths of life and different passions. One co-worker of mine went to cooking school, did the externship at a high class restaurant, and returned home with this piece of advice: “Being a chef is a lot like being an artist. It's a lot of work with little payout, and if you don't really love it, you should probably do something else with your life”. Maybe not exactly verbatim because this conversation happened almost a year ago, and my memory isn't the best, but the general message resonated with me.
Unless you have a lot of luck, the chances of hitting it big a slim. You've got to work your way up to the top, there's a lot of competition, the pay is not great, and you put in a lot of hours for a job where you get little recognition. The same can be said of any artform. It can definitely be said of writing.
It's what I hate most about writing, and even talking to other writers. There's an expectation of instant success out there, and it's not a realistic one. It's a nice dream, sure, and it's easy to look at people, friends even, and see whatever they write turn to instant gold and not think the same thing will happen to you. I know I've thought like that on more than one occasion. My disappointment when it happens is never less even though I should know better.
Writing is a labor of love. I see a lot of people who think it's something anyone can do, and who don't love it with all of their being. Those are usually the people who end up quitting, or grudgingly continue on their project with no motivation. It's easy to quit something you don't love. A lot of people I know quit when they don't have the instant bolt of lightening strike their brain and wake up their muse. A lot of people quit when they get their first rejection letter from an agent/publisher. A lot of people quit when they try to make writing more about a business than art.
A friend of mine who donated artwork for my book trailer told me another thing that resonated with me. Again, I can't say what it was verbatim, but the general concept was this: art stops becoming art when you stop making it because you love it. Art is a gift. A gift to yourself and a gift for others. For this reason, he didn't take any kind of monetary compensation even though I offered it to him. He told me he wanted to give me his art as well as keep it as a gift for himself. Why? Because he loves it so.
While being an author is like being a business, I encourage you to go back to the roots of why you started writing to begin with. As we close up the month so known for being about love, return to your true love when it comes to writing. Write because you love. Even if it's just for one day, don't take it too seriously and let your passion flow from you again.
A Note from the Book Boost: J.F., I loved your post today. As a fellow "writer/artist" it gave me chills. I agree with you 100%. Write because you love it and want to share it with others. Don't let the business of being an author get in the way of your business of being a WRITER! Please tell us more about your book.
Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he's loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn't even know Darien exists.
On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she's going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.
When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.
She giggled a little and went back to nuzzling him gently before daring to finger the buttons on his shirt. “So if you’re my husband that means you love me right?”
“More than anything,” he replied honestly. He’d loved her since he first saw her six years ago.
“I want to see it....”
“I, are you sure?” Darien took a moment to swallow and then caught his breath. Did she really mean what he thought she meant? She must have. The smell of lust practically poured off of her. It smelled sweet, kind of like cinnamon, but there was also another more subtle flavor to it as well. He couldn’t put his finger on it.
He wanted to be with her, to be one with her, and it was the only thing he’d been looking forward to for months since the day he decided she was it for him. But as much as he wanted to be with her, he couldn’t help but be weary of the idea. He couldn’t tell if she meant it, and he wanted this moment to mean something. This would be the first time for them both. It was supposed to be special. The atmosphere was perfect though, and they were married. What could make it more special than that?
“Of course I’m sure.” she said. She stared up into his eyes and he was completely swept away in hers. They were filled with certainty, and when he looked into them he did not see a dreamy, dazed, or confused look. Her pupils appeared normal, even her smell suggested she was recovered from the spell well and returning to her right mind. Her smell told him she lusted for him. If anything, she looked determined. Love at first sight? He’d heard a lot of stories about it, and while he had been hoping for it, he was also a little skeptical about the idea. Love at first sight had worked for his brothers, but it seemed too good to be true. Now he realized how much he worried over nothing. His dreams from the past six years were now coming true. That reassured him, and so did her words.
“If you’re my husband, that means I love you more than life. I need you to love me. I want you. I feel safe now. Love me and protect me from the dragons.”
He planted a soft kiss on her forehead before placing a shaking hand over hers. “I will always keep you safe. I promise you that the dragons will never hurt you.” He leaned in to give her another kiss. He shook slightly from his nerves. He still felt a little hesitant, but he could feel her confidence in her kiss and that seeped into him. All of the worry he felt over whether or not she would accept him faded from his mind. She was attracted to him. He made her feel safe. He was capable of being what she needed. It felt nice to be worth something to someone. It felt warm, and it gave him a new kind of energy and boldness that he’d never experienced before.
He wasn’t sure what he was doing exactly, but he’d find a way to learn for her. If there was one thing he wanted to be sure of in terms of his duties as a husband, it was that he would do his best to give his bride everything she wanted. He began setting that standard when he took her as his own before once more returning to his home with her in his arms.
Without any hesitation, her arms wrapped around him and her fingers grazed his hair as she kissed him back. He pressed himself closer to her, daring to open his mouth a little as he started to feel a lot less shy. He’d seen that on the television once, and it looked like it might feel good. She must have thought so as well because she let out a quiet, happy sounding moan. Her hands moved from his hair and to underneath his shirt. She firmly traced the muscles on his abdomen and chest before undoing his shirt button by button.
That was all the convincing he needed to know she really did desire to make love to him.