Passion, Purpose, Profession

“No one forces you to ply the trade you follow. But if you do choose it, then acquit yourself to the best of your ability. And above all, you should not think of writing as a way of earning your living. If you do, your work will smell of poverty. It will be colored by your weakness and be as thin as your hunger. There are other trades which you can take up… Our opinion of you will not be any poorer, and since you will be sparing us acres of boredom, we may even think the better of you.” – Essay on Novels; The Marquis de Sade

I’ve been pondering this subject as I scribble (not literally) furiously during this National Novel Writing Month of November. Why on earth does one choose to pursue this challenge? Or for that matter, why choose the whole pursuit of writing and story telling? Surely, its not for the money…

There has to be that voice in your head whispering or shouting at you: ‘tell my story, it needs to be heard and you are the only one who can tell it.’ The voice has to be louder than the voices telling you you can’t do this, that you shouldn’t do this. And when you write, you must tell that story in just the way you want to, not pandering to what is popular or what you think will sell. That is not to say that your writing loses artistic integrity if it becomes commercially successful. We all want to sell books. It loses artistic integrity if your primary goal is to become commercially successful, because then you will write as a salesman not as an author.

So… write well, write from your heart and this month, if you’re participating in the insanity, write A LOT!

On a personal note

I’ve completed ten days of National Novel Writing Month, having written almost 17,000 words so far. A pretty decent showing. I’ve had days where I get completely immersed in the writing and it flows like a river. And there are times where my mind wanders, I come up with a great idea for a short story or a scene from Here Lies a Soldier and I have to stop and make notes. But beyond that…

Writers understand writers the way no one else does, so this is my rant to you who know how it feels…  I’m struggling. I’m struggling  and not because of the pressure of sticking to the writing pace. Because I write a lot anyway. This month has had it’s share of other distractions – a weekend away –which was mostly good, the election coverage… And it seems like every single person in my life needs something from me right this very moment. The truth is I’m not receiving very much support for this endeavor. Its importance has been minimized. – mocked, even. I’ve been made to feel guilty for writing in the evenings. Anyway, the joy and whatever excitement there was for it is slowly seeping away. One month apparently, is too much to ask.

I haven’t given up yet. I am going to see if an adjustment in schedule will help. But I’m not optimistic. Writers how do your family and friends feel about your writing?

When November Spawned a Monster

National Novel Writing Month (I refuse to use the acronym, it pisses me off) is off to a decent start. I have 11,315 words written as of Sunday night. That puts me ahead of the average I need to complete on time. Which is a good thing. I struggle to write the same thing every day. Which is bad. I didn’t have this problem when I started the first novel — I concentrated on that exclusively to its completion. What happened to me? I found this on Pinterest the other day I thought it totally applied to the way I’m feeling this month:

I have never had the best self discipline. I do stuff because I want to and the minute I feel like I have to, it quits being fun. “Duty is an ugly mistress,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is one of my favorite quotes. And another is “I love deadlines. They make a nice whooshing sound as they pass by,” from Douglas Adams. These are both on one of my ubiquitous post it notes stuck to my monitor. I really do love to write so I’m trying not to let November ruin it for me. I also don’t want to bail on NNWM (I prefer initials to acronyms) but I will if it looks like it’ll spawn a monster.