The past two weeks, I’ve been reevaluating my writing life and thinking about where I want it to go. I’ve considered completely giving up, starting an entirely new project, writing only short stories, writing only poetry… you name it, it’s probably showed up in my thoughts somewhere. I realized that I really can’t totally give up on writing. It’s like… my addiction, my drug. A few nights ago, I literally dreamed about writing. In the dream, I wrote three pages, and when I woke, I was sad that those pages didn’t actually exist.
This whole writer-life-crisis made me think about the reasons I write and why I started writing in the first place. I suppose I started writing because I had something to say, and because I was never a very talkative person, I wrote it down. I wanted to think about “what if” scenarios and create different characters based on people I knew and put them in odd situations. I wrote because people told me I was good at writing; supposedly my words made sense and could be entertaining. I didn’t think my work was good enough or would be good enough for publication one day, and in all honesty, publication isn’t one of my biggest goals. It’s something that would be nice, but for now my goal is to finally have a finished product that I am satisfied with.
Because I am a bit of a perfectionist, satisfaction is hard to find, but I suppose I’ll have to draw the line somewhere. There must come a time to put the red pen down and say, “I’m done. This is as good as it’s going to get, and there’s nothing else I can do.” After all, there is such a thing as over-editing.
It makes me a bit jealous when I see other writers get agents, get published, etc. I know it shouldn’t make me feel as though I ought to hurry along and get something published, too. But it does. Perhaps that’s just human nature. We tend to want what others have, even though that particular thing may not be what’s right for us as individuals, or at this particular point in time.
That made me think about why I would want to get published. Not for the money, especially since there’s not much money to be made in publishing unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Not for the fame, again, there’s not fame to be found either, unless you are a prodigy. I suppose publication would be an affirmation that someone else found my work to be worthy, an affirmation that I had legitimate talent or could tell a viable story. I wanted others to hear my words. I wanted to share my stories with others. But I don’t necessarily need formal publication for that; I could self-publish, or I could post my work on one of the myriad writing sites out there.
I could never stop writing altogether; I’ve come too far to turn back. I have created worlds and characters that I can never forget about. I love those worlds and those characters. Even though creation can be a difficult process, I enjoy it. I like getting all excited over new ideas, listening to music and discovering songs that would be perfect for my story’s “soundtrack,” hearing my characters speak in my mind, rewriting and imagining settings…
So I shall keep writing. I shall make time for it, even if it’s just enough time for 100 or 500 words a day. At this point in my life, I don’t think it’s possible to have 2,000-word days like I used to. I may have deviated from my original writing schedule that I made at the start of the year, but that definitely doesn’t mean all is lost. A writer writes, and that’s what I shall do. 🙂