December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?
Rather than answering these questions, I’ve chosen to write about an important topic that came up this past month.
The Joy of Writing & Knowing When It’s Time to Quit
Throughout my writing career, I’ve seen a few writers who have said, “I’m quitting. It isn’t fun anymore. I’m not selling anything. No one is reading my stuff.” And, then, they do quit.
I’m watching a writer friend saying that they’re giving up writing. Many are rushing to the writer’s side, saying, Oh, no! Don’t quit, or This makes me so sad. It’s nice that they’re being empathic; however, I don’t think these people are listening. This writer is stating a truth, and I believe this writer actually wants someone to say it’s okay to quit or that it’s okay to take a long sabbatical.
A few are saying so but the words are wrapped in subtle positivity where the message of it’s okay to quit is buried in words of You’re talented in so many areas, and Don’t stop being creative.
Yes, there is creativity in all of us. Some are creative with yarn, others paint, others still with trash. Many are creative with food, decorating, playing a musical instrument, singing, and so forth. So many outlets for our creativity.
No one, though, can do everything well.
It can take years of trying and learning before a specific craft or art form is mastered. So, it goes: we try, quit, and try something else until we find that thing that fills us with passion.
There are some writers, though, who get lucky and find their passion and monetary success in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, those are the writers who too many of us compare ourselves to.
That said, writing is not for everyone.
Writing is hard.
Even for those of us who love to write, there are days that it makes us want to scream and cry out, Why am I doing this?
The other day someone was asking me if I’m able to write every day because I’m inspired. Not really. Somewhere along the way, an idea inspired me, but to do the actual first-draft writing, I’m usually gutting out the words. We know these words aren’t great and even somewhat stinky, fodder for the compost pile of prose as they read first written. We stick with it, though, knowing that stinky first words must occur because once shaped, they can become something wonderful—material that others want to read.
Thus, while the original writing comes first, writing is really about the rewriting. Hours and hours of rewriting.
It’s about rewriting, revising, polishing, and proofreading. And, for the self-published…promoting.
These are the parts that most people enamored with writing don’t want to do. Because it’s hard.
We writers don’t write every day because we’re inspired. We write because we put ourselves in the chair, turn on the computer, and just write—one word, one phrase, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time.
The joy comes once we get into the zone and where time ceases to exist, which for me can occur after a few paragraphs or a smattering of dialogue. It’s just getting those first words down that is sooooo hard.
Writing is a solitary craft.
- Write because you have a story to tell.
- Write because it excites you.
- Write because you’re amazed that you wrote that.
- Write because if you don’t, you’ll be miserable.
- Write because you have a truth to share, characters who want their voices heard.
- Write because you need to share.
- Write because there’s no alternative activity or craft that provides the same joy.
Write because you simply have to.
Write because you’re willing to do the work!
A writer should never compare themselves to any other writer. Especially the monies earned, or what we think they’ve earned. Did you know that the average income for a writer is about $5,000 or less per year? AVERAGE!
It’s no mistake that so many writers teach, coach, edit for others, and work at jobs centered around writing. It allows them to earn an income that’s compatible with their passion.
Ultimately, no writer’s journey is the same as another’s.
So, to that writer who is talking about quitting, I say:
Listen to your inner voice, your gut feeling. You and you alone know why you want to quit. If writing isn’t fun, it’ll only make you angrier and more frustrated in the future.
Give yourself permission to know what’s right for you.
There is nothing wrong with saying, this path isn’t for me anymore.
If there’s no joy in what you’re doing, you’re doing the wrong thing.
Me? I’ll never quit writing. I enjoy it that much, even the repetitive, time-consuming, polishing, and proofreading parts.
This year, Diana published Love’s New Beginnings and Tomorrow’s Wish for Love. She’s currently writing six novellas all at the same time because they are six couples with six stories, all living in the same community, and who are in and out of each other’s stories, which included the first novella, Shattered Dreams, that is already published. She’s working toward a 2020 publication for all six novellas.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!