Until I saw this quote by author, Toni Morrison, I had never considered the issue of control in writing. The writer is in complete control of what he/she writes. Wow!
How many other parts of life are there where you are in total control? Not too many. We adhere to rules and morals and ethics as we go about our daily activities at home and at work. We have had to answer to parents, teachers, spouses, bosses, even our friends at times.
But when you are writing, you are 100% in charge. Maybe that's one of the things that draws us to writing, even if subconsciously.
As a writer, I can:
- manipulate the lives of fictional characters
- create weather disasters
- kill people
- make people fall in love
- bring on a natural disaster
- be nasty
- be lovable
- make people angry, happy or sad if I write well
- make things happen
- turn a nasty person into a lovable teddy bear type
- use words that I might not use in everyday conversation
- make my own decisions
- write as long or as short as I like
- be erotic
Yes, when I write, I am in control but once I start submitting my work, I lose control rapidly.
As a writer, I cannot:
- have a say in what editor will like my work.
- always write any number of words I want to
- ignore writer's guidelines
- forget about the mechanics of writing
- dictate to an editor or publisher
- ignore reader responses
- skip proofreading
So, maybe we writers have two worlds. When we sit at our computers, tapping our keyboards, we are in control. And it feels good. Very good. Once we step on the submission Ferris wheel, control dissipates like a handful of sand slipping through our fingers and those rules and regulations are back in play.
We know nothing is perfect but enjoy the parts of your writing life that you can control. Then deal with the rest.