Monday, November 14, 2011

The Question of "Why . . ."

Thirteen years ago when I set my sights on becoming a published author I had a vision in my head of what it might be like. Without going into the painful details, I was wrong on almost every account.

Now, five books later I find myself still working my day job, juggling writing and work around family, and trying in vain to keep up with all the social media outlets. I'm writing one book while editing another while gearing up to promote and market yet another. My time management skills are being put to the test and at times I fail miserably. I fret and worry about each book, whether it will be well-received or not. I lose sleep. I second-guess myself. I struggle with writer's block and lack of inspiration.

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. This writing life has turned out to be too much like work.

So I think about why I keep doing it, why I keep writing. My reasons have to go further than just wanting to honor the rest of my contract. There must be a deeper purpose. To find it I really don't have to look far within myself and the answer is more complicated than you may think.

There are several reasons:
1) I continue because it gives me something to do. I'm not a hobby kind of guy. I can't see myself spending Saturday afternoons on a golf course. And I'm not so much into watching sports on TV. Writing gives me a worthwhile activity to channel my energy into.
2) I continue because the opportunity is there. Not everyone gets this chance to be published so there must be a reason God allowed me to be. I don't want to waste it.
3) I continue because I still have stories to tell. Not my stories, though they come from within me, but the stories of others, so many just like the people I meet on a daily basis.
4) I continue because I believe God wants me to. Whether I grow tired of it at times or not, whether I question my ability or not, whether I want to or not, doesn't really matter. God has put this task before me and I want to complete it. I don't want to let Him down. And, for me, that's enough motivation to press on.

So what keeps you going? Not just with writing but with anything. Where do find your motivation? Why do you press on in the face of discouragement or failure or hardship? Why do you feel a burning need to do more than zone out in front of a TV?

8 comments:

Beth Shriver said...

I appreciate your honesty and sharing your struggles with us. I beleive your number 4 is reason enough to keep writing:)

Mike Dellosso said...

Thanks, Beth, and yes #4 is enough of a reason. It's all I need to keep me going.

Donna Galanti said...

Mike, thanks for the inspiration and the realization that as authors we are not alone with battling these issues that come with the "author life". As a debut author I am struggling with the same issues. Thanks for the reminder we need to focus on the #1 reason we keep going and keep the faith.

Jillian Kent said...

Hi Mike,
Great post! You are miles ahead of me on the publishing end and I've already struggled with most of the things you mentioned. Yikes!

My motivation. Hmm. I really believe I wouldn't be published and have this awesome contract if God didn't want the words out there.

I include a strong historical mental health thread in my novels and being a full time social worker and counselor for 31 years has a lot to do with my motivation. I hope in some small way to help lessen the stigma of mental illness.

Bruce Hennigan said...

I write because I can't not write. It is how God wired me. If I were not a published author, I would still write. For 20 years I was the drama director for my church and I wrote over 150 long and short dramas none of which have ever been published. And then, I suffered through three years of hard, unrelenting depression and my pastor and I wrote a book about it, and it got published. The journey of my book, "The 13th Demon" to publication took 12 years. I will keep my day job but I will write, always until my hands no longer fit the keyboard and can no longer hold a pen. It is something God designed me to do and as long as I write for Him, every word will be worth the pain and the effort and the blood, sweat and tears and the sleepless nights and the stack of rejections. Because, every now and then I get an email from one person who read something I wrote or saw a play I wrote or picked up my depression book and they tell me it saved their life.
Is it worth it? You bet it is!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

A very thought-provoking post. All of your reasons have been part of my journey at various times in my writing life. And I agree with Beth and you that #4 is the most compelling. But then so is #2.

We're in this boat together.

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

This is a great post. I think many of us writers struggle at times. This is a hard business, very competitive, and very rarely is it lucrative. That's what most people don't understand. It's an art. Those who write are artists. We were given gifts from God -- and He expects us to use them.

Martha W. Rogers said...

I keep going because after almost 60 years, I'm living the dream that began in college. It's hard, yes, but knowing God has given me this opportunity motivates me to keep serving Him through my writing.

We do have struggles and when we share as you have done, we realize we're not the only ones. Thanks and I know you have many more great books just waiting for you to put them into words.