Thursday, 12 July 2018

Writing - Why we do it

"The road is loooooong," to quote the song "He Ain't Heavy".
And there is indeed many a winding road. And who knows where they may lead?

I see writers online struggling with their burden, wondering if it is worth carrying on.
So, I thought I'd address this question today.

The question stems from your reason for writing.
Are you writing to try to make money? If so, then perhaps you should quit. Very few people manage to make a living from writing.
Does a ballet dancer ever make copious quantities of money? Most don't. But they practice until their feet are deformed and bleeding, pushing themselves to new and harder limits. Why? Because they love it.

Dance and writing are art forms.
Artists practice their craft for the love of it. Because to not pursue it is inconceivable.
Writing is like breathing to me now. I can't not write. Whether people buy my books or not, I have to carry on.

Do I want more people to buy and enjoy my books?
Of course. But that's not why I write.
It is part of me, and I am part of it.

My friend, whom I've mentioned before, was a wonderful spiritual adviser.
"Keep on keeping on," she'd tell me.
This advice still rings in my ears. Through every struggle in my life, when I feel as if I can't continue one more step, I remember those sage words. I dig deep, and find the strength to carry on.

Bad sales figures can be disheartening. Negative reviews can feel soul destroying.
Don't let one person ruin your day.
Maybe you've had a bad day. It is not the same as having a bad life.
And beneath it all, we have our love for writing.
We continue to pour our souls onto the page as we have no other option.

It takes work. A lot of work.
I have been published for five years, and I am still learning, still building my audience.
Overnight success is a myth.
It takes time and effort to write, to hone your craft, to publicise your book/s, to garner interest.
This is a long game.
It takes drive, determination and stamina.
It takes every ounce you think you can give it, and then it demands more, this muse of writing.

Stories plague us, they taunt us, they dance in our heads until we think we will go quite mad.
And sometimes they hide as we put blocks in our own way. Our characters fall silent, refusing to speak.
I have written before about the struggles of procrastination, the crippling self doubt which can creep up on us, and of writer's block.
Then we have to relax. Take a step back. Distract ourselves until the story once more flows from our veins and drips through our fingertips.

What does success look like to you?
If you've pushed that big scary publish button; well done you. That's massive! Do you know how many people tell me, "I've been thinking about writing a book?" LOADS! Thinking is the operative word. They've not done it. They've not bared all, haven't yet had the courage to do what you have done. You're a success already!
If you've not published yet, but are writing...yep, you're a success too. You're following your passion, making headway. Keep going.

We all have our own path. Others have theirs.
Do not feel pain or envy at others' success. Celebrate it. It should give us hope, that perhaps we all have a chance after all. 
What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another.
Keep learning different promotional ideas. Try them. Find what works for you. 

Everything is exactly as it should be. 
You are already walking your path. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take that next step. 
You got this.

I still have stories to tell.
Do you?

Always in love & light,