Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Making Writing Your Lover

November 29, 2013
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Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Making Writing Your Lover

by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

December 2013

Watch for her insights every month on Authorlink

"How empty it feels to not be in love!"

How empty it feels to not be in love! A dimmer switch turns down the brightness of the world. There is nothing to look forward to, no reason to get your behind out of bed, no reason to put on anything but your sweats. That’s how it ought to feel not to be writing. A blah that makes you search, hunger for a beginning.

The beginnings of love affairs are always a thrill. You see each other across a crowded room and Cupid lets his arrow fly. Or you end up in the same car on the LIRR and keep changing seats until you are standing in the aisle next to him, asking, “May I have this seat?” and then you’re across from him, trying unsuccessfully to keep the heat from your face. Or you finally have a date meet-up that when you walk into the bar and he waves to you, you don’t want to excuse yourself to go to the ladies room, and then hope there’s an easy open window that you can climb out of.

"Just let the lover-writer metaphor wash through you…”

The beginning of your story or essay or novel can have the same pull. Just let the lover-writer metaphor wash through you, marinating like your favorite sauce. A sentence or an image or a memory or something you overheard comes to you. Let yourself follow it as you would a guy or a girl who looks attractive from the back and you just want to rush forward to see the person’s face. That’s what you need to do for writing. Let yourself fall in love with your first sentence, no matter that it may be edited out later like a bad breakup. Or that you may end up starting elsewhere so that the beginning becomes the end. Just follow it. Try to think of each successive sentence as a beginning so that you keep that momentum going. Don’t worry yet about how it’s going to end. That drive will get you there, and maybe in a way you never expected.

"When your writing preoccupies you during the day, text it and send it to yourself."

When your writing preoccupies you during the day, text it and send it to yourself. Write a few words to it about the scene or that just came to you, the plot twist, the new character that you thought of. Or write as if the character has just texted you and you answer. What you learn will be amazing and it keeps the spark going.

When you’re in love, you want to gussy up for your lover, be your best self. Just do it in writing. Keep taking courses, going to workshops, keeping your writing and the desire for it alive in you. A lover wouldn’t go out with a participle dangling or a metaphor that’s mixed. You edit your writing with the same care you’d get a haircut or put on makeup when you are in love. People should be able to look at you and see by your expression, the sparkle in your eyes that you are “involved.”

At the end, when your piece is finished and gone to press, don’t be surprised if you experience the same melancholy you might when an affair is over. But remember, you will meet a new piece of writing if you keep your eyes and ears out for it. Love is always in the air.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro






Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) and the Indie Award Winning finalist, Kaylee's Ghost (Amazon and Nook). I Dare You To Write: First Aids, Warm Conforts, Sparking Advice for the Journey Ahead (Authorlink) is a collection of essays for anyone who dreams of writing. She has published essays in NYT (Lives), Newsweek (My Turn), and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. She teaches Writing the Personal Essay at UCLA extension.

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