Kathleen Long | The Gifts of Writing

I want to thank everyone here at Fresh Fiction for inviting me to blog today. I was sitting at my computer this morning trying to settle on an interesting topic for today’s blog. My new series? My future plans? My typical writing day?

Instead, I found myself thinking about the gift of writing—or should I say gifts, plural. Writing has brought so many layers of good to my life—new friends, new challenges, new skills—that describing those gifts would take all day.

Then, the best “gift” of my life announced she was awake for the day. That was the moment I realized a toddler’s chattering was the perfect place to begin—and focus—this blog.

Did writing bring about my two-year-old? No, but my writing career taught me to work hard and chase my dreams. In life, just as in writing, there aren’t any shortcuts. Our daughter came into our lives after a ten-year pursuit of parenthood, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of the journey. After all, each step brought me to this wonderful moment filled with alphabet songs and questions and belly laughs.

My writing journey has been no different. Writing—like life—is about doing the legwork.

Writing is about believing your dream is worth chasing. It’s about dusting yourself off and trying again each time you face an obstacle in the road. Writing is about reading—how-to books, favorite authors, market news. Writing is about learning—pacing, plotting, story techniques. Writing is about writing—first drafts, second drafts, third drafts, and more. It’s about starting over time after time simply because you refuse to quit and because the need to write is part of who you are.

Writing is about setting the alarm to wake up two hours before your family to steal time in front of your computer. It’s about staying up far too late—or early—because the storyline in your head won’t take no for an answer. It’s about rolling over at 3am and thinking, wait a minute…what if my heroine said this instead? then racing downstairs to make notes or fire up the laptop.

Writing, for me, is its own reward.

Writing is about setting free the words and characters and places in my mind that come to me so clearly and purely I couldn’t ignore them even if I wanted to.

Writing is about creating worlds into which readers might escape for an hour or two or three.

The Body Hunters is my first trilogy—my first series—and I loved the process of creating the cast of characters and their stories. Developing the series provided me with the opportunity to form a longer-lasting, deeper connection to the characters in my mind. I hope the series will provide the same opportunity for connection—and escape—for readers.

Escape. That one powerful word sums up why I write.

At a particularly difficult point in my life, a book pulled me out of the fog of grief that had overtaken my every thought and movement. A book carried me away, helped me turn the corner toward becoming whole again. Since then, books have been my escape time and time again—be they books I’m writing or books I’m reading.

That particular book gave me the kick in the pants I needed not just to live again, but to write again. That book made me want to provide that same escape for others.

I sat back that day and decided to value my dream enough to chase it.

To every author out there—both published and as-yet unpublished—thank you for believing in yourself enough to chase your dream. Without you, I might still be stuck in my fog. Instead, I’m headed upstairs to help a two-year-old start her day. I can’t imagine a greater gift than that.

Please visit me at www.kathleenlong.com for the latest news and release info, and at www.thebodyhunters.com/ for the latest on The Body Hunters trilogy and just what inspired your favorite character or scene. Join me all this week over at the www.eharlequin.com/ Forums where an entire thread has been dedicated to discussing The Body Hunters. Most importantly, thank you for stopping by today, and thanks again to Fresh Fiction for inviting me to blog!



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