Having had two novels published this year, I’ve been thinking about my motivation to write. Why do I do this? What is it that makes me write? I have found writing has become easier over the years, as the more I practice, but there are of course days when it feels hard going. I find I can write easily, it’s just the time and effort it takes to do it consistently I sometimes find challenging. There are moments I find myself wishing I were someplace else doing something else. Yet I make a conscious decision to keep chipping away at the draft until I’m satisfied it’s as good as I can do at the time. I then move on to the next story and try and do better. I get a buzz out of reading something that previously didn’t exist and is now available for others to read and hopefully enjoy. It’s a good feeling and is certainly one reason that keeps me writing.
One factor I keep returning to – and this is a personal thing – is optimism. I often say that if I wasn’t an optimist I couldn’t write. What this means is, if I thought I couldn’t do better and will do better the next time, I probably wouldn’t bother to continue to write. There are activities I’ve tried which I didn’t take to, wasn’t good at and knew that if I persevered, I still wouldn’t make much improvement. I also didn’t enjoy them. Writing is something I feel optimistic about improving on and it is something I enjoy doing. This optimism and enjoyment go hand in hand.
I seem to be chasing the idea of the one true sentence; that one line that encapsulates the thought in my head and expresses the emotion I’m feeling. I’m optimistic I can get there – I can do it. To date I feel I haven’t been entirely successful in this – though I feel I have written some good lines – but I keep on trying; this is where my optimism lies. I believe it is this optimistic streak that keeps me fired up on days when I would rather pack it all in and do something else with my time. It’s not always easy; there are days when filling a page is challenging. Being optimistic – and enjoying it – is what keeps me focused.
There really hasn’t been a better time to write. Publishers are still buying; agents are still recruiting; people still read; the opportunities to publish have never been greater. I am optimistic for the future of writing. True there is a great deal of noise and depending on your timeline, it appears the whole universe either has a book to sell or is busy writing one. That can appear daunting, along with the vast amount of information explaining how you should write. All I can add is, that’s the way it is. For me it underlines how important it is to write as well as you can and write because you enjoy it.
I don’t make enough to live on by writing. However, I am making a living, writing, and that is a welcome shift in my outlook. I was optimistic I would find a couple of genres I was comfortable writing in, and I have. I’m now looking forward to writing a series of novels while continuing to write short stories and continue to explore the novella. Writing is now something I do; it is something I work at and take pride in. As I said earlier, there really isn’t a better time to be writing and that should instill optimism in all of us.