Pushing Through

I received a letter from a young writer with whom I’ve been corresponding for a while now. In it she asked me a question that I thought worth passing on, since it is a question EVERY writer will face sooner or later.

Her question:

As for my first novel it should be well and truly finished by now but it isn’t. (Don’t ask – I have a serious case of writers block…of course the lack of any serious deadline also helps!) Actually I haven’t written a single word since a few days before christmas. I know from your ‘Silent Bounce’ messages that you have had to write on difficult days, even persevering through migraines and against heavy deadlines. A skill I will have to work on. I am sure that with experience and time and a better understanding of my craft it will get easier. Any advice on how to push through in the meantime?

And my response

As to pushing through, there isn’t any secret. You’ve hit the point where you’ve realized that this is actual work. This is THE make or break moment for any writer, when you have to decide whether you want to write, or whether you want to have written. If you want to write for a living, you’ll get back to the computer and do it. If you only want to have written, you won’t. You’ll keep thinking of yourself as someone who wants to be a writer, but the goal will drift farther and farther from you as other things get in the way.

If you discover that it isn’t what you want with your life, let yourself be okay with that. I thought I wanted to be a professional artist until I got a job as one, and discovered that I liked the title, but not the work that went with it. Find the work you like, whatever it might be.

Let me know how it goes.

Writing is a wonderful job for anyone who loves to write. Who enjoys the physical act of writing, which consists of sitting down and putting words on paper hour after hour after hour.

For anyone else, it’s a misery.

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