Amy Trueblood wrote a post the other day that really got me thinking about why I write. She asked if we’d ever set a deadline or a limit- like three books that don’t get picked up, or 500 queries then done, or whatever have you, and if we got to that deadline, we’d stop writing.
So I thought about it. See for the majority of my time as a writer, my focus has been on developing my craft. I’m not much of a querier yet, actually- I’ve done a few contests here and there, and sent a handful of straight up slush queries, but very few. I’ve revised two books, but my focus has largely been on developing my drafting stamina- the ability to write 2 or 3k day after day, the ability to build a cohesive story from the beginning so the revision process won’t have to be quite so intense. Of course my first drafts are messy and in need of help- lots of help. Whose aren’t? But I’ve drafted about fifteen books over the last two years, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself. Along with reading books and blogs and going to a writing conference, I’ve been studying and building my skills the best I can and not been so much worried about the publishing side.
But then I asked myself- I haven’t been focused on it so far, but it’s the natural progression. So, do I have a cutoff point? A deadline? What if I do query a book, or several books, extensively, and not get much of anywhere? It happens to people all the time, probably much more times than it turns out happy ever after. Will that stop me?
I don’t think so. Because as much as I think it would be awesome to get published, as much as I really want to have an agent and continue to grow and develop, and share words with the world, it’s never been my main goal. My purpose for writing has nothing to do with my name on a shelf and everything to do with telling stories. I think about the ones I’ve finished and the ones I’ve not yet started, and I get excited. Writing is what I do and who I am. I wouldn’t change the other parts of myself because people didn’t like them. Why would I change the writing?
This was a good thing to realize, and I’m glad Amy put up that post. It’s encouraging and strengthening in many ways, because for alot of writers, I think the worst thing that could happen is going unnoticed. And if that worst thing has no power over me, I think my road will be much easier.
What about you? Is there a time, place, or limit to what you’ll be willing to do?