We simultaneously loathe and love what we create. Regardless of our mastery of our craft, we know we will never achieve written perfection. Simply knowing of the existence of a more evocative line, a more graceful segue, a more compelling motivation, a stronger phrase keeps us humble. However, something about creating entire worlds from mere words feeds our creative soul, filling us with a parental pride no non-writer will ever experience.
Only delusional nitwits start writing because they expect to it to make them rich.
Oh, sure, one might harbor the secret desire to write something so amazing, so brilliant that the world beats a path to one's door, flinging fistfuls of money along the way. Love of money, however, makes a poor muse.
|"Will this castle do, Mistress?" "GOOD DOG!"
We writers tend to be a supportive bunch. I have never known a Real Writer to deliberately squash another writer's dreams. (I'm sure it happens -- being a writer doesn't make one a saint any more than having a child makes one responsible -- but I believe such aberrations are rare.) To the contrary, on numerous occasions, I have known writers to generously use their time, expertise, education, and connections to help a fellow writer on the road to publication.
Sadly, too often writers forget the flights of whimsy, inspiration, and creativity that caused them to start writing. They allow the callous remarks of non-writer naysayers (@DowagerAgent anyone?) to affect their optimism, their faith, and their productivity. They lose sight of the fact that one does not write to please the world; one writes to complete one's self.
If you want to marinate in a depressing sea, Google "Why I Quit Writing" or "Why I Stopped Writing" sometime, and follow the tendrils of misery that emanate from that Wood Between the Worlds. Just make sure you hide the razor blades and the Drambuie first. (Strangely, no one seems to notice the irony of writing about why you are no longer writing...)
Lately, I've had several conversations with talented writers who say things like:
"What if the book I've written isn't as good as I think it is?"
"What if I've used up all of my creativity and never get another good idea?"
"What if I've wasted a year and a half of my life?"
"What if it doesn't sell?"
"What if I don't really have what it takes?"
They're all allowing themselves to flirt with the idea of quitting. As if becoming a writer was a conscious, logical decision they made that they can walk away from at any time.
Being a writer is more of a calling than a career.
If you're a writer, you know the thrill of creating characters more interesting, more rounded, and more real to you than most people you know.
If you're a writer, you know that a part of you remains behind in your story when you must leave it in order to live your "real life."
If you're a writer, you know that if one is to consider it a waste of time to write, one might as well consider it a waste of air to breathe.
Granted, you might take a break from writing for a while -- especially if you've allowed yourself to fall into the trap of equating success with financial gain or fame.
But, if you're a writer, the Muse will not stand to be ignored for long. The day will come when she will smack you upside the head with an Idea so exciting that it will cause your heart to beat more strongly as the creative juices surge through you again. And you will realize that where there is breath, there is life. Pick up your pen! Run to your keyboard! Quitting is not an option...