So, maybe you’ve been trying your hand at this writing thing, this writing gig, this being a writer on your way to becoming a published author. You’ve heard about NaNoWriMo and writing 50,000 in a month, which is maybe a novel, but at least a good start on one. Perhaps you’ve done it before? Could be you’ve published some short stories or even have some books for sale.
Regardless, unless you’re a household name you’ll eventually run into a situation where you put your writing first. You’re asked why you can’t do this or go there or take the time for some other thing, you respond, and you hear, “Oh, that.”
Two words. Regardless of intent, what will often reach your brain is far different than that stressed word…
• “You’re just playing around and will never be a real writer.”
• “If you want to make extra money why don’t you go out and get a real job?”
• “If you had any real talent you’d be published by now and living well.”
• “What’s taking you so long?”
• “Writing? Everyone can do that. You’ve heard of email, haven’t you?”
• “What a boring way to spend your time. Don’t you want to get out and have fun?”
• “It’s sad that you’re deluding yourself. Just saying.”
More empathy would be nice, of course, but really they don’t understand—because they can’t understand. It’s as simple as that.
Until you’ve worked on a novel and fully grasped the effort required you can’t grasp the satisfaction that comes with completing it, and completing it requires far more than just writing. Research. World building. Plot. Beats. Voice. Characters. Tension and conflict (not always the same). Backstory. Maybe magic systems, maps, and so much more.
A novel isn’t visual art the uninitiated can absorb in seconds, nor is it music you can hear in minutes. A novel might be 100,000 words on your laptop and require hours to read. It’s that thing you do.
Thus, we writers can struggle to find empathy—and still I wouldn’t trade writing for the world.
To summon experiences, places, and people out of my mind; to draw maps, world build, and construct magic systems out of nothing; to invent histories, customs, and even languages … how could I trade any of it?
How could I not cherish the many extraordinary moments in the life of my protagonist, Ergain Cursa or any of the quirky or mysterious characters who float through her orbit?
Gryphons. Cirque Cats. Gargoyles. Wizards. Sorcerers. Airships. Reaper Storms. Seers. Neanders. Hobs. Ora’ean. The list goes on and on. There’s an entire glossary. That’s Ontyre. That’s my world. I’m having fun there.
It’s fun because it’s home to me, and the best part is I never really have to leave it because it’s the world inside my mind. I’ve come too far to ever want to turn back, book sales or no book sales.
While I started writing long before my first NaNo, it was NaNo that stoked the fire. Next month will be my fourth. More important, I’ve learned, practiced, and expanded my writing possibilities because I participated.
If you think writing might be for you then give it a go. Go down that road. Go to that place so few know. Discover the priceless joy of creativity.
I won’t lie, though, it’s a lot of work, but the only fail is not trying.