Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What do you want?

I've been thinking very seriously lately about what I really want from my writing. At first it started as a hobby; it was a way to express my feelings, or entertain myself. It was also a means of communication. I often wrote notes, or letters, or poetry and gave them to people I loved. I always found that it was easier to formulate my thoughts when I was writing them. Then suddenly I found that there were stories coming to my head.

I remember a few years back my husband took me to a Josh Groban concert for my birthday, and I couldn't get the music out of my head. All I could think about were the stories that might inspire songs like he sang. I imagined what the people would be like, what they were feeling and thinking, what motivated them. I found myself unable to sleep at night. I had to write down my thoughts, even if it was just character descriptions or scenery. Suddenly everything around me inspired thoughts of stories. A song, a building, a beautiful view, a funny conversation, a striking person, a strong emotion, it all made me want to write.

After a while the writing itself became the motivation. I felt so excited when I was writing. Seeing my stories come to life was giving me a natural high. Then as I got brave enough to share them I realized how wonderful it felt to see others enjoying them. Naturally this led to thoughts of publication. I started to wonder if I could really do it. Were my stories interesting enough? Had I written them well enough? I began paying closer attention the the mechanics. I joined a writing group. I started blogging with you all. I also began delving deeper into the world of publishing and researching what it takes to get published.

Now that I'm almost done editing and polishing my first book and about half way through my second, I'm seriously wondering if I've taken the time to figure out what I really want. Every step seemed like a natural progression, but I wonder if I considered all the implications of being published.

Fortunately, writers seem to be better able to maintain their anonymity than other people in the entertainment industry (unless you're Stephenie Meyer), and though writing is not likely to make you filthy rich or super famous, it will require certain things. For example, a fairly large amount of traveling at certain times. It would also require meeting deadlines and being accountable for contracts. In essence I would be choosing to become a working mom. Granted it would be the best working mom gig out there, but it would still be work. Now don't get me wrong, I grew up with a working mom and she was amazing! And I realize that writing from home is a whole different ball game than working a nine to five job. But the reality is that I would be adding one more thing to my life, one more obligation. And there would be good and bad consequences.

So I think what I've realized is that I need to know for sure that what I'm doing is right. That the sacrifices are worth it. I'm at the point now where I need to decide how to proceed because I know that once I make the decision I won't look back. I'll put all my heart and soul into what I choose and if that means never sleeping so that I can be a mom and a writer then that's what I'll do. But if I know what I want and that I made the right decision when times are tough or stressful, I'll have the assurance that I did the right thing.

It seems like every writer I've met so far knows what they want. They never seem to doubt it. I'm curious to know what some of your goals are.


  1. I too, never thought my writing would be anything more than a hobby. But as I've realized how much I love it and how much fulfillment it brings to my life, I know it is what I want to do. Now, the immediate goal: find an agent.

  2. I've spent too many years of my life knowing when the Lord is talking to me, to not be able to ignore it. After weighing my options to begin Pride & popularity (which were three crazy days) I knew as soon as i started to type it would be published. And that I owed it to the Lord to write the book the way He wanted. Did I freak? Oh yeah... Did I want to turn back? You betcha plenty of times! Especially when i began to research all that he wanted me to do. I felt extremely overwhelmed countless times. But always there was someone placed in my path at the perfect time to help me over each writing hurdle to get me where I am today. So what you really have to ask yourself is... Is this the Calling you're giving me Lord? Because if it is... don't hesitate, don't look back--just leap. there will be people there to catch you. Also remember that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. EVERYTHING. And I feel that this is my greatest missionary experience EVER. For a girl who has been praying her whole life to be a missionary... i'm starting to get pretty excited! LOL!

  3. there is a part of me that loves writing just for writing... but another part that feels like I have a voice... a way to form words in to meaningful sentences. If God gave me that voice, then I ought to use it. The book I'm working on now... I feel it so strongly and have been so prayerful in it's formulation... I feel like it needs to be published in order to really fulfill the measure of it's creation. IF, that is, it ever makes it to full creation. :) It isn't about potential income, or recognition, or a big fancy byline... it's about the words, and the message, and hoping it's one that others can benefit from reading.

    At the same time, you did raise some interesting points. I'm still too young in the process to have thought that far ahead!

  4. Kasie, You're almost there!!

    Jenni, There's no doubt that you were meant to be a writer. One think I do feel is important is putting positive entertainment into the world with positive messages. You will have the opportunity to be an example to so many people.

    MommyJ, I think my stories are fun and clean and have overall positive messages, and I always think there is room in the world for that. It sounds like you have a conviction that this is what you're supposed to be doing. I think that's wonderful. I feel like I should be using my talents to uplift and inspire others as well. I guess what I have to decide is if becoming a novelist is the way for me to do that. I think so and I hope so... :)

  5. It's funny this came up. In one of the workshops I went to recently, the teacher talked about using rejection as a time to reevaluate if we are really doing what we want to be doing. I thought about it and the answer for me is yes! I wanted to write when the kids were younger, but it never happened for me. It took until all the kids were in school before the Lord blessed me with the inspiration needed to finish a story. I'm glad too, I'm the queen of feeling guilty, so this way I can obsess over my stories during the day, guilt free. Writing really is a goal I've had since I was grade school. It's just been recently that I've realized it could finally be a reality.

  6. I've been asking a lot of the same questions of myself. I think there is no way that all of this just happened. I didn't one day have this urge to write for no reason. I don't know why, but I am supposed to be doing this.

    I also think the time commitment is something most of us are already dealing with. It takes a lot of time to write/edit/revise/query/submit etc. and so other than travel... we pretty much have already committed the time.

    My goal for now is the same as Kasie's - get an agent! :)

  7. Nikki, I'm glad that you're feeling like the timing is right and are able to finish your story. That's awesome.

    Jenn, You are so right about the time already being spent. That's a very good point. If I weren't writing it's not like I would be cleaning 8 hrs a day. LOL!

  8. I'm glad to have found this blog . . . these are all the questions I've been mulling over for quite some time now. I think for me I need to write for sanity's sake. There are times that the words just swim around aimlessly in my head and I can't sleep or really think about anything else until they have been committed to (virtual) paper. At the same time, those words are unfocused and, when taken as a whole, my entire oeuvre of literary creations is scattered and unrelated and has no sense of continuity, except for my voice that permeates each one.

    My thoughts have been provoked, for better or worse. We'll see where this takes me.

  9. Welcome Inkmom! Let us know if we can help you with anything! We're all moms and we're all writers! LOL! So we feel your pain literally! LOL! Oh wait, maybe I should say literary! hehehe! Jenni

  10. Hi Inkmom! Welcome to the insanity! Actually this is where we come to make sense of the insanity that is in our heads. We find kindred spirits that tell us if we're crazy then they are too. (Which we are, crazy that is!) But at least we're not alone!

  11. Hi Inkmom! we are happy to share our literary madness with you! :)



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