26 September 2009

Why I Do What I Do

Wow, an actual blog post? I'm shocked as much as you are. I'm going to attempt to start working toward putting up weekly blogs (I'll still be posting up the goals posts) again. We'll see how it goes.

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Writing is a depressing business. All sorts of work, relatively little pay (certainly not enough to live on, at least in my case anyway), giving up most of a social life in order to stay in and write your next novel/short story. Putting yourself and your abilities out there for a high risk of ridicule and rejection. It's a wonder that anyone does it. But there are so many of us out there who still do.

In my case, I tend to spend most of my time in front of my laptop, or working on notebook paper, scribbling out manuscripts, notes, or other assorted odds and ends. It's very rare when I won't take writing work with me places I go, even if it's a social setting. The trouble is, with a day job taking up most of my time, what I have left for writing is limited. So, I use up as much time as possible to get work accomplished. Otherwise, it would likely take several years to get a novel written, or several months to get a short story completed (not counting the endless amounts of time required for the query and submission processes). If I was satisfied with that pace, I'd never be a success at writing. To be a success, one has to complete a lot of work, and in a timely fashion.

Given the relatively small rewards available to writers, one has to beg the question...

Why do I do what I do?

To answer this, one probably needs a little background on me, personally. My mother was an English teacher before she died (I was a teenager at the time) and consistently harped on my skills, growing up. It's one of the things I'm glad for, because engineers (my day job) are generally notorious when it comes to spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc.

I started writing at a fairly young age, and she always encouraged me in it. I can't recall where I ever finished a piece while she was still living, so she never had the chance to read my work. And that's a good thing, as those early works were utter dreck. Ultimately, her death proved to be the spark that ignited my writing, and took it to the next level. Suddenly, I had a point of reference for a vast array of emotions that I'd never experienced before.

So, if I had to guess why I put myself through the abuse I do, I imagine it would be in part an attempt to honor her memory. Knowing she encouraged me down this writer's path leads me to think she's likely looking down at me and what I've accomplished so far, and I'd like to think that she's proud.

And as many have said before me, the best is yet to come.