My very wise writing coach used to say to us that you write because you love it, not because you want to be published. If you write only for publication, she warned, you risk losing your passion.
I think the key word there was the only. The prospect of never being published won’t mean that I will pack away my laptop and stop dreaming up characters and scenarios or put away my writing hat forever. However, it also doesn’t mean that I don’t still dream about it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still want to walk into a bookstore and hold a book, penned (read: typed) by me in my hand. At times this dream is like a drug through my veins – it takes me on an impossible high and then drops me hard. Because you see… with every piece I write there always comes a point where I say to myself that I will never be good enough for publication – self published or otherwise. It is in those moments that I start to second guess every sentence I write, every move my characters make … my characters themselves and why I even do this.
Writing is more than a glorified hobby to me even though it is sometimes hard to get off my tongue when people ask me what I do in my spare time. In one of my classes this week one of my course mates asked me if I was spending this year doing any sort of pro bono legal work or just focusing only on my classes. Even though I eventually told him that I spent almost all of my time not spent on my coursework (and sometimes time that should be spent on my coursework) writing, I felt so awkward and embarrassed to say it. In my mind I was berating myself for not doing anything concrete and worthy with my time. I thought to myself that I must come across to him as some flighty girl chasing after a stupid dream when it was time to grow up and get serious. Of course I have no idea what he was really thinking but I don’t need a psychology degree to analyse what my thinking that those must have been his thoughts meant. Am I subconsciously thinking that this might all be a waste of time? God knows it is a lot of time. The hours I spend writing, plotting and editing could be easily spent doing other things… like losing the pounds that I keep saying I will (tomorrow) or hanging out with friends like most other normal twenty three year olds do. As hobbies and careers go writing is pretty lonely but I tell myself that everything I turn down or everything I put off to hone this craft is worth it. That is until it doesn’t seem so worth it after all. And, well, to be honest that makes me scared and more than a little sad.