Quick question: Why did you start writing?
There’s no wrong answer. (Unless it was to get rich and famous. Then we’re all going to laugh at you.)
I know exactly why I started writing (creatively). I even remember the moment.
I had moved from my life-long home in rural Ohio to the Gulf Coast and the deepest reaches of the Deep South. I was alone despite being married, a foreigner in a strange country with small children and I needed to process the strange culture in which I found myself. There are only so many WTF moments a human brain can handle before it seeks an outlet. And that’s how my first book was born. I was a SAHM who needed catharsis and intellectual stimulation.
Then everything changed again.
I’m now a single mom (engaged!) with a dry but demanding full-time day job and almost-tweens who are into all sorts of activities. I’m the main breadwinner and the head of my household, pulled in a million directions. I no longer have the South as inspiration. I have … cornfields. Concrete. Office politics.
Any of this sound familiar?
There’s a wonderful French phrase that encapsulates the next step of the writing process: raison d’être.
Loosely translated as “reason of being” or “reason for being,” it reveals the crux of the matter.
What is your reason for writing? What was your reason when you started? What is your reason now? Just like everything else we’ve discussed in this series, your reason has probably changed quite a bit from when you first started.
And just like taking the time to identify and then confront your fears around writing, take some time to look at the flip-side: your biggest, wildest dreams. Are they enough to keep you motivated? Will they be the kick in the arse that you need when the ohhh, shiny! wears off?
Here’s a secret: you may not be able to identify your main reason for writing. That’s pretty scary, huh? The sad truth is that you may not have a reason anymore. Whatever void or purpose writing fulfilled in the past may no longer be applicable to where you are now. I often come to that conclusion.
And then … I hear a song. Or see a picture of a unique-looking person on Pinterest. Or I get SO ANGRY about politics or an injustice or someone’s ignorance that I NEED to put down words before I explode!
Baby steps, friends. Start with just one thing that will get you closer to being a productive writer again. Your muse will eventually get the message and kick in with more ideas than you can handle. Until then, be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Thanks for reading – I hope you found these discussions helpful. Be sure to circle back and read Parts I, II and III, as well.