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?