I think any successful wordsmith could tell aspiring novelists there is one reason and one reason alone to write: FOR YOU. You can’t write for fame, and you surely can’t write for money. You can’t write what you think will be popular because what’s popular is what sells. You have to write for you and from your soul. Period.
My writing is what fulfills me. I’m stuck in a job right now that I can’t stand and contemplating some big life changes, but my fiction remains my passion and one of my constants. Oh, that doesn’t mean the fiction comes easy. Some days it frustrates me, and some days I just don’t feel like I know where to take the story next, or I wonder if I can go through that scene ONE MORE BLASTED TIME. But I trudge forward, because writing is what I’m meant to do. That I have the will to trudge forward when it gets difficult only reassures me how very much I’m meant to be an author. I now have enough experience writing that I can tell myself when I hit a rough patch, “This has happened before. You got through it then and you’ll get through it now. Chill, girl. Just chill.”
Writing brings me peace. It energizes me and guides me to ponder the big questions of life. Some days I even find myself smiling with pride at the thought of a character and how she refuses to give up in a tough situation, or shaking my head in disappointment at a character when he messes up. It’s almost as though, in some strange way, they’re my children or something. They are real people to me. They are parts of me, truly. Their stories are stories that I, myself, really love. Their adventures inspire, teach, and strengthen me. I hope with all my heart they can have that effect on other people too, but what’s most important is that writing allows me to work through my fears, doubts, and problems. I would write even if I never intended anyone else to read my work. I wouldn’t write for as many hours a day as I do, perhaps, but I’d still write.
I think that when you can say that last, you can call yourself a writer. I mean, what writer doesn’t have a horrid first novel they will never show the world, but that they still hold as dear to their heart as anything “better” that they wrote? I know that’s the case for me, and I love those original characters and I love that cliché, predictable, boring story with everything I am.
I am a writer. Are you?