I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Preparing for 2010, thinking about what I write, why I write and the competitive, tough, fast-changing market out there. It can be downright discouraging, enough to make a body quit. And I would, if I wasn't so darn stubborn and first and foremost a writer.
How do I know this? Because even when I experience huge doubt, my mind still churns out new plots. I can't write to the market. It was different in nonfiction when I wrote 1,000 to 5,000 word articles, but when authoring an 80,000 to 95,000 word book? To stay focused that long on a project, I have to love what I'm writing. Further, there's nothing like the satisfaction that comes with completing an entire novel.
What's more, every single thing I do revolves around writing. I love to write. And during the holidays when my family members were dreading going back to their day jobs and "real life," I couldn't wait to get back to my writing.
My husband bought me a digital camera last year and I've been learning how to use it. Funny, when I downloaded the pictures, I didn't see merely the images, I saw my writing career, the good times, the bad...all that I've accomplished and all that I've yet to.
My husband and I went to Tuscon where he ran his 11th marathon. Running is his passion, while writing is mine. We stopped to take pictures of the amazing acre upon acre of cactus growing in the state. Know what I thought about when I gazed up that prickly hill? I thought of the publishing world and how important it is to develop a tough hide. A cactus quill doesn't have anything on the editors or agents who pen those rejection letters. To reach a publisher's desk you have to tiptoe around an awful lot of thorns to get there.
In Manitou Springs pictured to the left, we have a rugged mile-high trail that travels skyward. Most people bring their ski poles with them to help them maintain their balance, it's that steep. Know what I thought of when I studied that picture? I saw my completed manuscripts and the one I've just started. I can't tell you how many times I had a full-blown panic attack and thought I'd never finish. The point is, I did. To a writer, completing a novel that holds up from start to finish is equally as rewarding as climbing a mountain.
Finally, here's a picture of the geese that love to inhabit the round-about across from my house. If you walk through the circle it's a shortcut and you can shave five minutes off your time. However, when the geese are there, that shortcut isn't necessarily appealing. Particularly when it's full of slimy goose @#$%, and if you do walk through there, you're likely to land on your keester. My feathered friends' yearly presence are reminders for me not to take shortcuts. That writing is a process, and sometimes the muse needs time to gel, or maybe I haven't researched a topic as thoroughly as I should or perhaps my chapters need further editing.
Yep, whether it's slippery, thorny or steep it's all about the writing for me. Maybe that's why I identify so much with Isaac Asimov's famous quote, "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."
So how about you? If you're a writer, does everything you do revolve around your love of writing?
Happy New Year all, and here's to our writing!