I think we all have those moments in life when you have to reach deep into yourself to remember why you’re where you are to begin with.
You know: Your partner has been on the warpath and taking it out on you. You are totally empathetic, but a little battle weary. So you think, “Oh, yeah, it was your smile. “ Even if you haven’t seen so much as a grin in weeks, you can push yourself through the “for worse” days by re-visiting the better ones.
Or, if you have kids, you know they invariably (more likely, consistently) test your patience and make you wonder what on earth made you think you wanted to take on that lifetime task. (We all know it doesn’t really end at 18, 21 or 30 – does it?) When someone brings home a poor grade, detention slip, or colors all over your freshly painted walls, you revert to the joy you get from their unsolicited hugs, the way dumb things make them laugh, or the way they look at you like you’re a superhero (or, maybe, used to. lol)
Every author knows that writing has those days, too. Your mind may have hit a blank patch, a deserted wasteland without so much as a mirage of an idea in sight. Or perhaps your muse has declared herself to be on vacation – or ditched you to manage a family emergency. Or maybe life is just kicking your behind right now and you can hardly see straight from one day to the next – less known, arrange characters, plots and sub-themes into a cohesive happy ending.
A few days ago, guest blogger June Shaw wrote about not giving up. Her focus was on editors whose visions don’t always align with our own. But beyond the decision makers at publishing houses and magazines, there may be family naysayers, skeptic friends, demanding children, even writing colleagues who disagree with your choice of genre, style, or subject matter. Those challenges affect your motivation as much as any internal stall.
But it’s going to take YOU to get that engine going again. Reach back for why you write in the first place. If it’s for accolades, well, your goals can get blown away like so much chaff with the first rejection or two. If you’re in it for the money, um, I think you’re in the wrong pursuit.
But, if it’s like breathing, a compulsive must-do, something you can’t see yourself not doing for the sheer sake of doing it, well, take a deep breath, pick up a pen, keyboard or tape recorder and start spilling your mental guts.
Like the partner you share your life with out of love or the children you care for out of love, write from that place deep within that burns no matter how the world tries to douse its flame. Eventually, you’ll surprise yourself with the joy of your own smile at a sentence, scene, then story well written – whether it’s sold yet or not.