by Melony Teague @MelonyTeague
My husband wants me to be the next J.K. Rowling. (He’s so cute.) I suppose it is important to have dreams and all, but I think his belief in me is a tad misplaced. I think he just wants to retire and leave me to make millions. Sadly, I don’t think that is how things work in a writer/author’s world. Well, not for most of us.
As a freelance writer I make enough to pay some of the bills, and I am also able to be home for my teenagers. Both these things are important to me as a mom. Let’s face it, this writer’s life is a little crazy and I think you have to be slightly loopy to pursue it as a hobby, let alone as a career. The longer you have been at it, the more you question your own sanity—I speak only for myself here.
So why do we write?
It’s not for fame and fortune, so what makes us put in those 10 000 Gladwell hours* to improve or craft? What makes us put one word in front of another until we have a completed manuscript? What sustains us while we pull that same manuscript apart and cry over the darlings we must murder, the words that don’t seem to want to “play nice” and get that book baby polished? Let’s not even get started on the rest of the process to get your work in print.
Other than the week long thrill when you get your first actual, real smell-so-good copies of your published book, what sustains our drive to write more? Let’s face it, being a writer is about 2 % glamorous and 98% hard work. Okay, I suppose I should have allowed at least 10 % for consuming coffee/tea and procrastinating before the panic of deadline sets in. But then I’d have to do math and figure the percentages over again.
We all have goals we want to reach, but WHY do we want to reach those goals? Back to the question, why do we write?
Every so often we as writers reassess. We have to keep our WHY front and center so that we can sustain ourselves through this journey. My reason for writing may be different to yours, but the important part is that we KNOW why we are doing what we are doing?
Is writing part of your calling? Is it your job? Is it your passion? Or perhaps, all three?
Do you have a mission statement up on your office wall to remind you of your WHY?
Do you have something that keeps you focused when you would rather curl up in a ball and give it all up? If we don’t keep sight of our WHY, the how and when becomes murky.
As much as we are a community of writers who support and cheer one another on, when it comes down to it, only you can decide whether your WHY is strong enough to sustain you through the blood, tears and sleepless nights. In the end we all want to leave behind a part of ourselves in our work.
Writing is not all torture. It is also joyful, fulfilling, exciting, and at the end of the day, it has to be worth it. Your WHY has to be strong enough. Go forth and conquer, my fearless writer friends. But before you do, have a good long think about your own WHY.
* (Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success)
About Melony Teague
Aside from her passion for reading, reviewing and writing she is determined to master coffee art, even if it takes her a decade to get it right. Born in South Africa, she now lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two teenagers and two cats.
As the Ink Flows
As the Ink Flows is a devotional by writers for writers, integrating the craft of working with words with the faith of people of the Word to deepen, sustain, and expand ministry in the world. This collection of 90 devotions features a focus Scripture, a brief meditation on the text and the writing experience, and a prompt for personal reflection and creative response.
Written by five members of a Christian writers' group, As the Ink Flows offers inspiration and encouragement for writers and speakers who want to connect their convictions and their craft for the glory of God and the equipping of God's people.