I don’t think that any writer needs to be told that getting published is a long, lonely journey up a very steep road. There are days where it feels like trekking up Mount Everest itself, gasping for breath, each inch gained a battle, passing the bodies of those who came before you and failed along the way. I’m not going to lie – sometimes it feels pretty grim.
I occasionally wonder if it wouldn’t be saner for me to trade my writing time for less stressful activities – reading, relaxing, becoming a brain surgeon . . .
But no, I keep on plugging along. Year after year spent writing, editing, and then the much dreaded querying. An endless cycle of
insanity hard work that I hope will one day pay off.
So, how exactly is one supposed to stay focused and motivated against the constant struggle?
I don’t know.
Personally, I think the answer may be to occasionally lose your focus and motivation.
As much as I love and prefer working on novels, when I need an ego boost I’ll work on a couple of short stories to submit. They’re much easier to get published, and there’s something about seeing my name in print that lights a fire under me to keep gambling for the jackpot – a book deal with a major publishing house.
Then there’s that old adage, “If you love something set it free . . .”
I’ve had several prolonged, forced breaks over the years, and each time I get to return to my writing schedule, my fingertips voraciously gobble the keyboard. Seriously – I literally wear the letters off the keys. So, I don’t think breaks are a thing to fear. I think they’re good. Healthy, even. Your love of writing will draw you back, and you’ll find yourself refreshed, full of renewed vigor, words spilling onto the page like a surging river bursting through a floodgate.
There’s not a one sized fits all solution to any writerly problem. If there was, everyone would be using it. I think a large part of being a writer is finding what works for you. Again and again and again. Figuring out how to control your muse will keep you in it for the long haul. The important part is that you keep trying and keep writing – even when you aren’t!