Writing When No One Cares

A friend of mine and I were talking in November about National Novel Writing Month. We are both writers, but more importantly we are homeschooling moms with part-time jobs and lives so busy that sometimes we don’t get the chance to breathe. Every year we have great plans to write feverishly during NaNoWriMo, but then real life happens. We might do a little writing, but that’s about it.

Meanwhile, my friend’s thirteen year old daughter just completed her second novel during this year’s November writing frenzy. Sure, there is a vast difference in the schedule of a homeschooled thirteen year old versus that girl’s mom, but she also has something else going for her – someone cares. Her mother encourages her every step of the way.

We moms who spend our precious free time writing fiction that no one may ever read don’t necessarily have a cheering section. Writing is a solitary activity. We may not even have one person (other than ourselves) who cares whether we write or not. My family knows that I write. I even read my first novel to my children, who pronounced it “not bad.” My older son maintains that if I want to sell more books, I should really write something that includes adventure, magic and violence. (He is a preteen boy – these are the types of stories that interest him. What can I say?) But, whether I write or not does not matter to them one bit. What does matter is that they have food to eat, clean clothes, a reasonably clean house, someone to drive them where they need to be, and someone to pay attention to them and encourage them.

I pray every day to do the work that I should each day, to write what I should. I know that my primary vocation is as wife and mother. Next comes my paid work. Last on that list is my fiction writing. I’m a pretty self-driven person, but it becomes all too easy to not care when no one else does. If you read magazines or blogs on writing, they encourage someone in my position to join a writing group, get a critique partner, etc. I would be happy to do this, but I truly have no time. I use every available minute in my day, and if I get any less sleep I become a miserable human being to be around, thereby taking away from vocation #1. So, for the time being at least, I’m left to my own devices and my own motivation.

I write because I love to write, because the words flow and it is a magical feeling to see a story come alive. I write because I dream that someone, someday will read those words and that the story will matter. I write because it is one of the gifts that God gave me, and as such, I feel I have some duty to use it. These facts keep me going, at least most of the time.

What keeps you going when it seems no one cares about your writing?

About AnneFaye

Anne Faye writes from Western Massachusetts and is the author of The Rose Ring and Through the Open Window, and blogs at http://www.annefaye.blogspot.com/. You can follow her on Twitter at @AnneMFaye
This entry was posted in Fiction, The Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Writing When No One Cares

  1. I write for the message I wish to present and get across. It’s all for God and if it’s not for God, it’s not worth writing (this is also great encouragement to get the work published).

    When I started my first novel, I had no idea I would ever get it published but I wrote it because I wanted to write (I wrote a book I would want to read). Once a good portion of it was formed I only then pondered publishing because I thought the story was good and that others would enjoy it (and could learn about the Catholic faith by reading it).

    If God has put it on your heart to write and has given you the talent, then do not squander it. Take a pen and paper with you to bed and write for five minutes before turning off the light. If you truly enjoy writing, I’m sure you can find five minutes somewhere in your day!

    Really, if you think about it, who cares what others think? Write because you like to write–do it for yourself. And if God has placed it in your heart and given you that “call,” then do it for Him!

  2. Ann Seeton says:

    I write because if I do not, I am simply not myself. If I don’t write it is like lacking iron in my diet and something inside me curls up and becomes so miserable I stop smiling. If I don’t write, I sit, spinning my wheels and unable to really figure out what to do next. For me, it is like, if I don’t write first, then my mind is stuck in the mud of the words that must be written before I can get on down the road and manage the rest of my life.

    You can tell when I am writing, my house is cleaner, my kids happier, and I have a to do list written out and being checked off. If I am not writing, I stare at the blank list, STUCK.

  3. Kari says:

    Anne- A post I can REALLY relate to. I love to write. I always have. Stories just conjure themselves up in my brain and whether or not I actually write them down anywhere they are my constant companions. That is why, when I do get the chance, I write. However, I, too, am a mother and that is what God calls me to each and everyday, each and every moment. My family has been very encouraging of my writing but at the end of the day I guess it does not mean as much to them as the fact that I am their mom/wife and I care for their needs. It is nice to know I am not the only one who struggles to find time/motivation/balance for it all.

    Thanks for sharing- and thanks for writing. I, at least, appreciate this one!

    God Bless!

  4. Leslie Lynch says:

    Ann and Denise have great points; we have to be self-motivated and self-driven whether we have a cheering section or not. I, too, am not myself when not writing. I have contemplated quitting, but the image of the hours and days of my life without writing in it is one of purposeless-ness. So I keep at it.

    And yet, Denise’s words resonate. My life is not like yours, Denise; my kids are grown and gone. But other challenges arise. Each time I promise myself that I am going to ‘write through’ it, and find that fifteen or thirty or sixty minutes a day to do what I feel God has called me to do (along with my primary vocation of marriage). Each time I struggle. The image of Christ carrying his cross comes to mind. Falling, staggering up to drag the cross a few more painful and difficult steps, then falling again.

    What helps? Prayer, of course. Getting up yet again and continuing to try. Finding a plan for my writing, both in time/space and in the structure of what I’m working on, a deadline (or series of small deadlines).

    I hate to tell you this, though. I really appreciate the support of my writing group and my critique group. They encourage me and they challenge me. They keep me accountable. They are my friends. They, alone, understand the drive to write. I encourage you to find some like-minded companions – and CWG is a GREAT start. If you can’t manage face-to-face meetings with local writers, even as infrequently as once a month, then try online. There a lots of nice folks in the forums. It can be done.

    That brings us to the crux of the matter, for me, at least. I find it difficult to prioritize me. If God gave you this gift (which I’m sure He did; otherwise, you’d be lousy at it!), then find the time to honor it.

    This may not be the time in your life that it works the best. (Been there, done that.) So be it. But you can find ten or fifteen minutes a day to read books on the craft of writing, or add one more page to your work-in-progress. That would be 365 pages a year, which is a healthy novel.

    Stay encouraged, Denise. Do not give up on your dream, your gift. You can’t ‘make’ your family turn into your cheering section, but model for them what you’d like to hear, and give them opportunities to practice.

    Blessings and hugs. :-)

  5. Christian says:

    Van Gogh painted when no one cared.

  6. Don Mulcare says:

    Anne,

    Thanks for sharing.

    Your present situation provides major advantages allowing you to answer all of your vocations simultaneously. Your children have served as a critical audience, an inspiration and a reservoir of stories and perspectives. Why not write for them and with them? They could tune your writing to a critical need.

    In looking into a list of agents, suggested by our friend Leslie Lynch, it seemed that many of them were actually asking for manuscripts focused on the young adult (12-18 year old) group. One reason may be that most kids are not home schooled and are required to endure summer reading. Often these books are specifically written for this market and are at times “controversial.” They offend the parents.

    The Catholic Writers Guild seeks to promote Catholic literature. You speak of your vocations. Leslie mentions the role of prayer in our writing. The young adult market is a focus for fulfilling that vocation and promoting Catholic writing. Besides, Anne you have a team of editors living with you. You kids can steer your writing talents in a “kid cultural vein.” They will crack the whip, demanding daily production from you and will savor your every completed task because it will be theirs as well. As Leslie says, “They will become your cheering section.”

    Back in post-revolutionary France the education of children, especially Christian education had faded as the religious orders were dispersed. A young priest by the name of Marcellin Champagnat found that children were dying without ever hearing of Jesus. He founded a new religious order, The Marist Brothers of the Schools to address this problem in his area and eventually throughout the world.

    Today, the religious orders have again declined. Could it be that Catholic/Christian literature could reach even those children who learn in secular institutions so that instead of worldly values, they were exposed to Christian spiritual values while experiencing quality literature?

    Anne, you enjoy a better position than most to fulfill your vocation and answer this specific need. You can become a mother to so many more children through your writing for them with the assistance of your own kids, while they are still kids going through what every other kid is experiencing.

    Count your many blessings!

    Happy Epiphany!!!!!

    God Bless,

    Don