"We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to." W. Somerset Maugham
This quote has always described my experience with writing so well. I spent so many years with a little voice inside my head telling me to write and so many years when I did everything but write. When I actually sit down and start pouring words out onto paper, everything falls into place somehow. This is what I'm supposed to be doing.
Yet, I'm not one of those people that walk around with thousands of story ideas falling out of my head onto paper. I have to work hard to come up with each tale I tell. Sometimes it's a painful process. But it's worth it when one of my readers begs for more stories or won't quit bothering me about sequels to the books I've written.
I've been thinking about talents lately. I believe I was blessed with a talent to write. Even as a young child, I wrote. But there are other talents I was blessed with as well. Other authors have told me that to be successful you have to put all other interests aside and become a writer. I tried it for awhile and found that it most definitely wasn't working for me. I can see how others may find it necessary, but I find when I put other creative pursuits away, the writing muse dries up entirely. It seems like if I try to put to much focus on one area, not only do the other skills I have wither, so does the writing.
I also have to be realistic. Unlike some writers who are able to put all hobbies aside to pursue their writing, I have to keep some of these hobbies up. For example, my sewing keeps two teenage girls in clothing when we can't find anything modest in the stores or when they just can't find anything that fits properly (who knew skinny could be such a curse!). One of those daughters is starting to talk about a grad dress for next year. I know I can give her a custom fit, designer original at a fraction of the cost of just buying it off the rack. Sewing also helps to pay some of the bills when I really put some time into it. It is also something I can do without a lot of thinking, giving me time to plot while I stitch.
It's all about balance. It has taken me some time to figure this out, but for me it means allowing myself some time everyday to do something for me that isn't related to reading or writing. Sometimes it is as little as fifteen minutes, but it makes a difference. Some people are able to be single-minded in their pursuit of the publishing dream, but not me. And knowing that about myself will make the journey that much more pleasant. I'll put in the hard work and I will get there, hopefully soon. Until then, I'll keep my self going one word, and one stitch at a time.