Any writer knows that writing isn’t all fun. There are times when writing is pure adrenaline, pure joy. For me its the feel I get when I go for a run in the cold–refreshing air rushing at my face. But there are the other times too. Times of doubt, of discouragement.
My frustration in my writing came to a climax last night. I took off a good part of December from outlining for my book. To have a second draft completed by June, I need to be drafting by February. And now that leaves January to finish my outline–a huge and daunting task. Plus, I’m in the first rut in this book. The hype of beginning has passed and left me with the usual doubts and loads of hard work.
On top of that, I got the strong sense that my writing wasn’t really growing. My writing curriculum is awesome and I have learned a huge amount in the last year and a half. But there comes a point when I’m still making the same mistakes over and over again. Even though I do have a writing community through the oyan forum, I don’t have a teacher to hand my work into each week. I don’t have anyone to tell me, “Ok, that’s good. But it would work better if you did this instead.” Thus, there are many times when I feel like I’m proceeding blindly, learning only by trial and error. And that’s frustrating. I wish that I could see exactly where my last book went astray so that by the time next year’s contest came, I would have a competitive novel.
This wasn’t my first night of doubt and despair. However, I was still thinking, “Why am I even trying? Is the end result even worth it?”
And even though this was simply a plea from a discouraged heart, the question bears answering. Why do I write? Why do I lock myself in my room with tea and a space heater for hours at a time to structure and draft a story? Why?
There didn’t seem to be an answer to these questions last night. But deep down, I knew the answer.
Why do I write?
I write because God gave me a gift. It might not be an amazing or astonishing gift and its definitely not fully developed. But He still gave it to me. I love to remember the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25. It reminds me that it would be wrong not to use a gift that He has given me. I don’t know how He will use my writing, but I am confident that He will. That’s why I can’t give up.
I write because God has given me something to say to the world, through my writing. I’m not sure what it is yet. But I will not give up before I discover what that is.
I don’t write for the recognition or the notoriety. At least that shouldn’t be my motivation.
I write because I love it. Its just that simple.
So sometimes I guess discouragement is a good thing. Last night it made me ask important questions, questions that, once answered, would kindle a new flame and help me dig in my heels for the crazy ride of outlining this month. And for that, I’m thankful.