The following is a guest post from Michael W. Roberts and an entry in February’s Self-Publishing Writing Contest.
Click here to vote for the winner of this month’s contest. Want to help out your fellow indie authors? Consider entering March’s contest!
Why do you write?
What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning or keeps you up all too late to get your story written?
Is it the love of the craft? Is it the thrill of a finished project?
Would you still write if there was no way you could ever get paid for it?
I have to make a confession. I’m terribly ruthless when it comes to deciding how I spend my time. If I pursue an artistic endeavor such as writing, I’m always thinking of how I can capitalize on it. (If I can make money from it, then clearly I’m not wasting my time. Right?)
- Maybe I can write a short story and sell it.
- Maybe I can write an ebook and become an internet sensation.
- Maybe, just maybe, I could become a professional author.
In short, I bleed the fun out of the craft by primarily focusing on the end benefits of the art. Wanting success isn’t wrong. But when it’s all you want, there’s a problem.
You know, I might be able to make it work for a while. I tell myself I’m focused on my goals, so it’s okay if I’m not enjoying writing. It’s okay that I constantly envy the success of other writers. It’s okay if I take another week off from writing as I consider my next strategy to “make it big.”
And then, one day, I realize I’ve lost touch with my craft entirely. I don’t want to think about a single character or plot point. I pack it all up and move on to the next artistic endeavor.
Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me with writing, but I can name off several other pursuits that did fizzle.
What about You?
Are you writing because you enjoy it? We should definitely have goals and word counts and all of those other fantastic motivators. But are you passionate about the craft?
We all have “lows” in our enthusiasm. That’s part of the artistic process: the natural ebb and flow of our emotions. If you’re honest with yourself, though, you might see a lot more “ebbing” in your creativity than flowing.
If this is the case, you need to take a break from goal setting. Not from writing. Just the goal setting. Give yourself a pass for a few weeks, and just write.
Use writing prompts. Use stream of consciousness writing. Try out one of the character generator tools from Duolit and write a story about that person. Try writing a screenplay or poetry or anything new.
However you do it, discover what made you passionate in the first place.
Once you find that passion again, take time to re-align your goals. Becoming a full-time writer may not be the way for you to get the most out of life. The inspiration and experiences of your current daily activities may provide exactly the right fuel for your writing.
No matter what your future may hold for your career or writing pursuits, concentrate on finding your passions today.
About the Author: After some false starts, Michael recently rediscovered one of his true passions: helping others express their creativity. With thoughts about the creative process and directly applicable tips for writing, ReviveYourCreativity.com is meant to kick your art into high gear.