Having ended my last post with reference to the fact that a ‘real writer’ is one who does just that and is spurred on by ‘the process’ of writing rather than the accolades which surround the successfully published writer, it led me to wondering this week about the motivation in writing and how to keep it going because, ‘real writer’ or not, everyone at some point or another stumbles.
It’s been a while since I referred to my own personal quest to get my children’s book published and I intend to reflect on that in the near future but in the meantime – publication success aside – how do writers keep the words flowing day-to-day when, to the outsider, there may seem little point in producing them without a clear and – dare I say it – commercial, purpose? Well…
The answer is different for everyone and far be it from me to pin that down but most writers would say they couldn’t imagine not being able to write. It is a love of words, it is a private communication of thought onto paper or screen and it doesn’t have to go anywhere – to have produced it is often enough.
The thing with writing however, is that, the more you do it, the better you get. The better you get, the more you begin to tentatively share it. The more you share it, the more people comment on it and… the more often those comments are good, the more you want to continue sharing – be it through a published book, article or poem – until the point comes where validation can become more important than anything else and then…
… you may just lose inspiration. If the point in writing is simply to please other people and garner good opinion rather than to fulfil the need to write and write well, then I rather think the thread connecting you to it, has snapped.
Some writers are happy never to be published – others will do nothing else but try to be. It’s all down to personal choice and surely most writers would admit they wouldn’t turn down the chance of publication but, in the swamp that is the process of trying – don’t let this be the sole reason you write.
The first question you will undoubtedly be asked when you tell someone you’re writing or have written a book is, ‘Is it published?’ and the knowing look which follows if you dare to answer ‘no’ immediately equates ‘writing success’, I think, with money – that is, if you can’t sell it, it must be worthless.
The question is – would you rather write for the market, or create something you can be proud of for yourself…?