When anyone asks me why I stay up until all hours of the night writing fiction when I could be sleeping or getting a number of domestic duties done around the house, I tell them it’s because (a) I have insomnia, (b) I hate cleaning just about as much as I hate exercising, and (c) I love it.
Yes, I have a love affair with my writing. I believe all writers do. It’s what keeps our butts in our chairs crafting scenes, wrestling with the demands of our characters, and spending an hour trying to think up the perfect metaphor for how our characters are feeling when we could be watching Dancing With The Stars or clipping grocery store coupons. (Okay, I do clip coupons—we’re still in a recession, after all.)
As any serious writer will tell you, building a career as a novelist is hard. It will break your heart most days. You can spend years on a project only to have it hidden in a drawer after having it rejected by every agent in the country. You can go broke if you don’t have a supplemental form of income (i.e., a day job). You can read every how-to book and attend every workshop out there and still sit in front of a blank computer screen feeling lost.
So why do we do it? Why do we suffer through the frustration and the angst and the tears in pursuit of the cherished published novel boasting our byline on the cover?
It’s the dream of someday breaking through the barrier and emerging into the inner circle of published authors. It’s the hope that one day our words will reach the masses and make a difference, perhaps even change the world. It’s the feeling of having achieved our life’s mission—to write a novel and prove to ourselves that yes, we can do it and yes, we are good enough.
At least, that’s how it is for me.
I’m closing in on the last part of my rewrite on a book that has taken me two years so far to write. Yes, I could tackle the piles of laundry sitting in my basement or the dust balls hidden underneath the bed, but not yet. As with anyone involved with a love affair, I’m going to follow my heart, and my heart tells me that the only place I need to be at this moment is at my computer. Writing.