Writing can feel like slow suicide.
And I’m not talking about the cut-open-a-vein-and-bleed-onto-the-page kind. I consider that more of a goal. What I’m talking about is an insidious kind of self torture that starts from the first day you decide you want to be a writer and probably only ends when they’re shoveling dirt on your coffin.
Staring at a pile of unfinished manuscripts, like staring at the empty screen can at times be daunting. Heck, staring at a “finished” MS in need of a re-write can suck the fire right out of your spitfire. Even when the words are flowing and you haven’t had so much fun since you were playing Cowboys and Indians, and there just aren’t enough hours in a day to finish what’s raging in your head, writing is still hard work.
So why do it?
Why put yourself through it? It’s unlikely you’ve got a gun to your head. (Would that help or hinder your process? – let us know) Yet faced with almost certain failure (at a “successful career”) you get up each day and say, “Gee, I think I’ll write something.” There are other activities you could be doing. Things that are fun without as much effort. Frivolous things. Hobbies you can start, stop, put down or even toss in the trash at any time and no one would guilt you, not even you. There are easier ways to make a living. Ways with greater certainty for success. You’ve probably got skills and contacts right now that could earn you more money. And I’m sure there are other things you would like to be doing, or even things you should be doing instead. Perhaps you want to share more time with friends and family, or just loaf on the sofa becoming one with the remote. So why, given all that, would you choose to write?
Being unemployed for longer than you thought possible can lead to a great deal of introspection. One thing I’ve discovered about myself: the thing that’s been driving me to build a website, attend webinars, read more books, and check out more blogs, articles and tweets than ever before is my desire to write. I want to stop wasting what precious time I’ve got left in this life (generally making someone else wealthy) and spend it creating and sharing stories from my soul. It’s one of the few things that bring me joy. When I go without, I feel lousy. I have to write.
“Um…Hello. My name is KC…and I’m a writer.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to succeed at writing, not to be famous (that sounds like more of a hassle than a boon), and not to be rich (I can be happy with less than rich), but to write more. That’s right. I want to succeed at writing so that I can do more writing. Sick, huh? I guess what I’m saying is; I know that a certain amount of fame and money (after lots of work) is necessary to succeed as a full-time author, but these are just the means to an end. My focus is on the goal. I can think of no more rewarding life for me than to live it writing and sharing. The “extra” work to get there (like learning how to build this website) … a necessary expenditure in time.
I recently had a “vision” of myself as an old man. A kind of “It’s a Wonderful Life” glimpse, if you will. I can tell you, I don’t want to be the old fart behind a walker in the rest home, full of regrets, still thinking about a writing career that wasn’t, and yammering on about the (one) book I published fifty-thousand years ago.
I want to write more, publish more, do more, be more. (And if an increasing belt size is any indication, I’m off to a good start!) But seriously, I’ve decided that for my happiness I need to write and write more. Somehow, I’ve got to figure out a way to write more (and better) if it means tearing a hole in the time-space continuum.
Why write? Write because it makes you happy!
Please write a comment if you feel so inclined. Even if it means loosing your Writer’s Anonymous 100-day chip! 🙂