Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Why I Write

If you heard an odd noise last week, it was probably me sighing with relief. When I start a new project, it always takes me awhile to figure out where I’m going with the story. I think about the characters. I decide who was murdered. I settle on the killer and motive. I write the beginning scene and a few more. Even after all that, it still takes me awhile to really internalize the story and the new characters I created, to really figure out where I’m going with it.

Until I do that I’m uneasy. Can I write another book? Will I get it done in time? Will this story interest readers? All of those questions run through my head. When I finally get into a rhythm, as I did last week, I feel a great sense of relief.

During this time of unease, I have to keep reminding myself that this is just the way my mind works. No matter how uncomfortable it is, this is my creative process. There will always be this period of unease that lasts a couple months where I feel a bit like I’m floundering. When that period passes and I give that sigh of relief, I finally feel like I’m getting something done.

It’s tempting to compare myself to other writers. To say that I should be further along in the story by now because author X that I know would be. Or that I should get more done each day because author Y does. It’s not a good thing to do, to compare yourself to other writers. Everyone’s brains work differently. Everyone’s writing process is unique. Whenever I feel uneasy, I remind myself to have faith in my process and that, as long as I show up and keep writing, I’ll get there in the end.

With all of this angst I feel, why is it that I bother to write you ask. I don’t make a lot of money, which I’m sure is true of a lot of writers. I don’t sell a ton of books. I write because I feel compelled to tell stories. I have lots and lots of ideas that I hope one day to create novels or short stories from. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. It’s really something to have a book in hand that came out of a crazy idea I had.

I feel special when someone tells me they enjoyed reading one of my books. I feel blessed when readers take the time to spread the word about my series and to ask me to speak at a meeting like I did last week at a local church. I had a wonderful time talking about writing and my stories and answering questions. Sure, I sold a few books, but really it was just fun to talk to people who were interested in what I had to say.

I doubt I’ll ever write a best seller, but I’m okay with that. I’m happy spinning my tales and putting my books out there, hoping that readers will enjoy spending time with my characters.


Aline Templeton said...

Sybil, what a lovely, comforting post! You speak for so many of us.

Sybil Johnson said...

Thank you, Aline.