Why write, when you rather not?
I have a confession to make. I don’t always feel like writing. I know, shocking, right? In fact, as much as I love to write, that is how much I avoid writing. Writing is a great deal of hard work, with at best, delayed gratification. Like, really delayed gratification. It is also humiliating at times. In order to be considered a good writer, one needs readers. So, instead of your skill, time and commitment as the only landmarks for success, a writer needs the outside opinions of these people who may or may not know what they are talking about, to measure the worth of your work. And let’s face it, for many writers, that work is our hearts and life-blood. We put everything in our work, and having strangers have the power to declare such work as good, bad or indifferent is really hard to take.
We have to have a lot of confidence to stand under the onslaught of such public opinion. We have to be really assured in our own work to be able to take the possible blows of an uncaring readership and/or editorial mind. We have to remember, in particular, that the mind of an editor or reviewer is designed to find flaws. It is not designed to find things to praise. If you do get that praise, consider yourself blessed. Someone whose job is to tear apart in order to build up found a true diamond in your work. If this happened too often, we might doubt that it is real. But they are doing you good. They are helping to make your writing better.
Is it hard to face? Yes! A thousand times yes! I spent a lot of time dreading the eye of the public. But I dreaded and still dread, sending my babies out to people who are supposed to tear them a new one. I do not want to face the fact that my work is still bad. In my heart of hearts, I want to put my pen to paper, or my fingers to the keyboard, and masterpieces tumble out effortlessly. It’s not in my nature to have to work at anything, and face disappointments. I am not preserving. I am a quitter by nature. Hopefully, that can be drilled out. But it took a lot of humbling situation to realize that it is unfair to myself and to others to expect to be a master at the craft of writing without being an apprentice first.
It is not the trials that keep me at my keyboard. It is the need. I write because I must. My brain continuously spins out stories and ideas, no matter what I actually do with the ideas and stories. One day, I told myself, if I am going to keep missing sleep because my brain is on overdrive, it might as well be spent getting those ideas out of my head and on paper. In the end, this is the real reason why I dare to give these offerings to the public. If I am going to put all this effort toward writing, then I might as well share it. Maybe, even if I never am what the world calls a ‘great’ writer, I could still amuse a few people. Maybe I can even inspire someone to do likewise. Maybe even inspire someone who will end up being a great writer. To me, that is as good a goal as being a great writer myself.
What about you? Do you feel the same way? Do you want to avoid the hard work and the humble situation of putting your work on the chopping block? Do you think you can deal with criticism well? Do you have the resilience to stand up under others opinion? What do you think is the work that you are meant to do while here on earth? Taking time to answer questions like this might be the best investment of time you can do for yourself.