You may write because you love it. Maybe it’s the way you earn your living. You might not be able to help yourself. That’s where I am.
I read things penned by witty writers whose imagery is so vivid and thoughts so profound, expressions so witty, it just makes me sick to my stomach. For one brief, panic-filled moment, I think I’ll never write again. Why should I? First of all, I can never compare to so-and-so. Secondly, who reads my stuff, anyhow? One, two, three people here and there.
I wonder, in those moments, if I’m a “real” writer. I wonder how to tell what that is. What if you write a hundred stories and they are unimaginably brilliant, yet no one ever reads them? What if millions of people read, and no ones says a word about it?
As a writer you want to move, shape, teach, help, build…you want to whisk your readers away to a world that you created. You long for that audible sigh when they close the book and have to leave your characters behind. Your desire is that they will want to follow the trail of tales you’re forging.
This writing thing is fun, but it’s also hard work. Being appreciated for your effort is important. But more than just noticing that you put forth effort, you want what you generated on those blank pages to take the world by storm. You want your book to woo those readers and draw them in to a sort of love affair.
You want it all to add up to something glorious. You want your reward for spending your imagination, your sweat, your tears…for overcoming the “block” that kept you sitting there in horror for days wondering if you would ever come up with an idea again. All the rewrites, all the clever things you clipped out, even though it hurt, because they just weren’t right in that particular place.
I have actually gotten out of the shower to jot down an idea, knowing that, if I waited, it would go down the drain before I could finish shampooing my hair. I’ve pulled my car to the curb and fumbled for the notebook I keep by my seat just in case some fancy notion zooms though my brain and I need to capture it on paper. There is a notebook in my night stand for that very purpose. (Why are these ideas so whimsical in their timing?)
I have resented being interrupted by even the most treasured of family and friends, fearing my roll might not be able to get back on track. And the guilt! ah.
Many times I have suffered ridicule, rejection, and criticism for spending time doing what seemed useless to others, literary agents who decided we weren’t a good fit, publishers who said my story just wasn’t right for them, people who just plain hated what I wrote… And, no, I don’t have a thick skin; I take it all pretty hard. It sends me reeling. What I do have is resilience.
So why do I write when others are so much better at this craft than I ever will be? Why keep going when I may never find a publisher who loves me or an audience who gets me? Because I can. Because I enjoy it. Because God made me this way.
Because, in spite of the fact that someone else can do it better, I am the only one who does it like I do it. And that’s reason enough.