I’ve been posting about some of the challenges facing writers, and I’ll write more on those issues later. Today I’m exploring why we keep going in spite of the challenges. Why do we keep putting words on screen or paper when it’s hard work with no guarantee that an agent, editor or publisher will ever come to the party?
Mostly, writers write because we have no choice. The stories are locked up inside us, the characters demanding to be heard, until we have to give them a voice. We write because the words need to be written and we’re the only ones who can tell our stories. It’s that simple. Writing is very rarely a choice. And most of the time it’s difficult. What keeps us going is the joy of being “in flow” when the words pour out of us as if we’re channelling them from another realm, rather than making them up. If you’ve ever had that feeling, it’s unforgettable and addictive. We want that pleasure again and again as we yearn to reconnect with that cosmic channel, inner voice, whatever you choose to call it.
Yep, my name is Valerie Parv and I’m a writing addict. There. I’ve come out and said it although, after writing more than 70 books, the confession isn’t likely to come as a surprise to many. One good thing about writing addiction, it doesn’t need more and more of anything to provide the same high. Just sitting down at a keyboard with an idea running through my head is enough to trigger that secret thrill of knowing I’m about to indulge my passion.
Here’s a quick quiz to tell if you’re also a writing addict:
1. Do you wake in the middle of the night with ideas and characters running through your head?
2. Do fictional people “talk” to you when you’re doing everyday things?
3. Do you scribble notes on paper napkins and backs of envelopes?
4. Do you “people watch” in cafes and other places, then make up histories of the people you see?
5. Are friends and family, however beloved, a great source of story material?
If you answered yes to more than three of these questions, you’re a writing addict. Sorry to say there’s no known cure. All you can do is keep things under control by putting your stories down, either for yourself or for others to read. You can also get temporary fixes by attending writers’ conferences like the Romance Writers of Australia 20th Anniversary conference being held in Melbourne next month. If the very mention gave you a kick, see http://www.romanceaustralia.com for info. Reading how-to books on writing craft will help, but nothing beats the thrill of actual writing. How do you manage your writing addiction?