Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, “Why do I write?” You know, as in, “Why, out of the million or more other things I can do during my time on this planet, have I chosen to make writing that thing that sets me apart from everyone else?”
Well, I do.
In fact, I have been asking myself that question since sometime in the early 1980’s.
And I never quite seem to find an adequate answer. I never quite nail it. “Because it’s fun,” certainly doesn’t cut it. “Because I’m downright awesome,” is far too egotistical. “Because I’m the best at what I do,” is something Wolverine might say.
No. I’ve never really been able to answer that one. I actually put it aside some time ago, chalked it up as one of the Great Unknowns in life. Now, when that question pops into my head, I just push it aside, push it aside, push it aside…
I think we’ve all had days in this writing business when it seems easier to just throw in the towel. The words aren’t coming, or the story’s not hanging together, or the sales aren’t happening, and you wonder whether it’s worth all the time and effort you put into it.
If you’re very, very lucky, you have a cheering section to keep you going. For some of us, it’s our fans; for others, it’s family members or friends. A kind or encouraging word from one of them is often enough to keep us plugging away.
“Ah, to be young again,” people say. I have to chuckle when I hear that. No thanks. The years have made me a better writer, and being old now gives me an excuse for being grumpy.
I thought I was doing pretty well until the other day when I uncovered my baby book in a box in the attic. I’d been looking for some research materials for an action-adventure novel I’m percolating in my head. Instead, I found this ancient archive of my childhood.
As I gingerly moved it out of the box, some papers fell from it. These weren’t just ANY papers. They were all cut the same size, and bound together with a plastic-coated twist-tie. They were BOOKS. On them, my mother had written lightly in pencil “5 years old.”
Not only were they books, they were books I’d made – by hand. I’d illustrated them, and they rhymed. How in hell had I managed such a thing at five years of age? Granted, there were spelling errors, but those should have been caught by my editor. And for crying out loud, I was FIVE. Continue reading “The Productivity of Youth”
I learned some hard lessons in 2013, but hopefully I learned them well. One of the things I realized is: people really don’t get what a writer’s life is like. I’ll expound on that in a moment. First, let me tell you what else I learned:
– Sometimes, the people you meet online will have your back when the people you’ve known all your life, or at least met in person, are the ones stabbing you there. Sometimes your true friends are really your virtual ones. I’m so very thankful for my online Indie Author family.
– Of course, that’s not to say you should trust everyone you meet online. And sometimes the people you think you can trust turn out not to have your best interests at heart. There will always be cliques, and I will always be on the outside of them. But that’s nothing new to a loner like me, really. Sometimes it is surprising (not to mention sad) to discover who’s in the clique, though.