It’s true. I’m a firm believer that there’s a story in everyone, a story that will only be told the right way by that particular person. So, why am I saying that not everyone should write even if they want to write?
When people hear that I’m an author, I get lots of comments and questions. Like the “So you’re making a lot of money then, right?” and “That’s kind of cool. Do you know that Harry Potter chick?” and “That’s kind of cool. Do you know that Twilight chick?” (et al [INSERT FAMOUS AUTHOR NAME HERE])…
But I also get people saying “I’ve always wanted to do that” or “My friend’s been writing a book for years but never seems to finish” and “I have this idea, but…”
So, what’s the difference between them and me?
Is it that I’ve made a sale and my book cover is up on someone’s website?…No.
Is it that I’ve got a pretty photograph of myself to put in the back cover?…No.
The truth is, there’s no difference between these people with their ideas and me except for the fact that I finished my book. I edited the book. And then I started and finished the next book. And then I started another book…
I’m writing. Constantly writing. It doesn’t matter how many books get published, how many blog tours I appear on, or whether anyone buys my book (although I’d LOVE that!) – what makes me a writer is…the writing. Rain or shine, tired or not, sick or healthy.
It sounds kind of ridiculously simple, doesn’t it? It sounds like something everyone could do, doesn’t it? Just sit down in front of the keyboard and start tapping?
Trust me, it’s not. Writing is hard, and it hurts! I tear my hair out every day, and I have chest pains when something isn’t going right, and I agonize over every word to the point where my eyes start to get blurry. Rejection is the PITS! There’s rejection at every stage. It demoralizes you, makes you doubt yourself, spins you around and around until you’re sick with the uncertainty. And even when there’s finally acceptance and the book is published…there’s MORE rejection from some readers who will ultimately find the story not to their taste.
The truth is, if you don’t absolutely love to write, have to write, need to write…then you shouldn’t. Really. Save yourself the heartache.
It’s emotionally draining, mentally exhausting, and it takes time. Lots of time. And who really has any extra time these days? We all have commitments, whether they be to job, or family, or friends. We all have other hobbies and things we enjoy doing. To set all of that aside to write every single day (likely for NO money, at least at first) is tough. A lot of people don’t see the value in it – and THAT’S the big difference between writers and “Those Would Like to Write Someday”.
What do I tell these people when they ask me how I make it work or why I keep doing it?
The truth. That if I didn’t do it, my life wouldn’t be as fulfilling. If I didn’t do it, something would be missing. If I didn’t do it, nobody would ever know my story and that would make me sad. For every element about this writing thing that sucks, there’s another one I can’t live without. I’m happiest with my manuscript open in front of me. I get lost in my characters and I’m excited when they surprise me, and I love playing around with an idea until I know I’ve found a way to make it work.
If none of those things apply to you, then good! It means you find your joy in other ways and you don’t need this crazy, insecure life. But…if you would answer those questions the same way I do (maybe with better flair) then I’m sorry to say, you’re destined to be a writer. Come on into the torture chamber. We have jackets.
So tell us, what’s your passion and how do you make time for it?