Ask any writer why they write (other than for compensation) and they may give you one of these reasons. I write because:
- I feel the impulse
- I want a voice
- I feel a need to express myself
- It’s my job
- I like to read, so I like to write
- I love to tell stories
- I am compelled to write
- I feel called to write
- I cannot not write
- It is who I am
These are inspiring reasons to write and I’m sure we all could claim at least one as our own. Yet, in the midst of the writing life with crushing deadlines, stalled novels, the death-valley search for an agent, the inevitable impasse with an editor and the ever-present reality of yet another rejection, it’s easy to forget why we write.
Which of the above reasons is yours? Not there? Then write it down. Pin it on a bulletin board near your computer or, better yet, post it on your screensaver. Look at it every day. Remember it when you’re slogging through your manuscript searching desperately for the precise words that often come slowly, painfully. Recall it when you’re editing, proofreading, submitting, waiting, waiting, and waiting. Or, when your writing life seems more like you’re living a lie than living the dream.
I write primarily for two reasons: # 8 and #10. Yet, recently when I had several articles and my first novel rejected (3 years of work), I doubted the call. I’m not a new writer. I know the probabilities of having your first novel published. I’ve had several years of success, yet I still allowed self-doubt to creep in and nearly paralyze me and my writing schedule.
I thought about taking a long ride on the open road or listening to music that has consistently inspired me to detour the disillusionment. Instead, I started working on an article about rebounding from rejection because of a simple truth I learned; the best way to work through rejection is to write through it. And the best way to keep writing is to revisit and recommit yourself to why you write.
I love to write. So I won’t quit. I feel called to write. So I can’t quit. When your writing hits a roadblock, for whatever reason, accept it. Learn from it. And overcome it by recalling the reason why you write—and should never stop writing.
Your Turn: Why do you write and why will you never stop?
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