My last post didn't completely sit well with me. I read it, and read it again. Something felt off. I absolutely agree with everything I wrote, but the tone and my enthusiasm to defend my college degree was slightly misguided. Let me add two more ideas for balance:
(1) Like with relationships, writing requires hard work, but if it's only hard work, something is wrong. Study and develop your craft, but there is an element to writing that can't be studied or quantified. Look at Shakespeare. For hundreds of years, scholars have tried to pick apart Shakespeare to understand what made him so good. Genuine passion, wit, humor, drama, how do you quantify such things? There is a zen quality to people who master their craft, who love what they do. It can't be fully explained. To quote Kung Fu Panda: "There is no secret ingredient." Yes, I did reference Shakespeare and Kung Fu Panda in this paragraph. Bonus points.
(2) Love. "If you are going to dedicate your life to writing, then it should require a lifetime of work." It should also require a lifetime of love. I'm not afraid of that word. Couples dance around the word like it's an indictment on their better judgment. Love. Love. Love. Love. You shouldn't be afraid to love. You should write because you love it. There is no need to explain or justify that love. You love seeing the right combination of words, the right moment with a character or a decision he or she has to make. You love seeing a story move and take shape. A jealous love. A love that endures all things.
There you go. I'm completely fascinated, bi-polar, and nutty about the writing process.