I was thinking today about how difficult it is to be a writer. I mean, hey, I get to sit down & write whatever story I want to tell. Nobody can stop me and nobody can make me give it up. So how is that hard?
Well, on the one hand it's EASY. It's kind of addictive, and very important to me. Telling stories is the best.
On the other hand...well...to get any good, you need a lot of practice. You need to learn the mechanics of writing, get a feel for story structure, and practice till your fingers practically bleed.
And then there's no guarantee that the stories you write will be any good, or at least something that interests anyone else. Or if they do, that it'll interest them enough to buy it. Or if it does and they do, that they won't end up hating it and leaving reviews that make it sound like you're both racist and evil. (This hasn't happened to me, as far as I know--but I'm not reading a lot of my reviews, LOL!)
The point is, there are no guarantees.
I have been taking this seriously for more than twenty years. Yes, part of that time I was a child. I still took it intensely seriously--practicing, planning for the future, learning and writing as much as I possibly could. Wanting to be a writer with my whole heart.
I've written for thousands of hours, millions of words (yes millions), and story upon story upon story. I have no guarantees that anything--anything--I've ever written or ever will is "important" or "good" or even "entertaining," because these things are kinda subjective.
I do know I've enjoyed almost all of it. Except editing. And a lot of business stuff that goes with writing. And the crippling self-doubt that sometimes hits any writer. (If you're a writer, you know what I mean.)
When I read a story by a new-to-me author and love it, and go to find more of their work and then see that they haven't published anything else, I'm always disappointed. :( But...I get it. I really do. It's harder than they thought it would be, or they don't have the time, or they let the bad reviews get to them, or they did the math and realized, "What the heck? I sold twelve copies and spent months of my life doing this?? I could do better and have more fun selling on eBay!"
Or maybe they're still out there working on another story. I hope they are; I'm rooting for them, for entirely selfish reasons: because I want to read more of their work. I'm rooting for you, one-story author. Or aspiring author. Or blocked writer. Because I love to read as well as write, and more stories are always a good thing if you ask me. :)
But, I do get it. I get quitting. It's hard to keep writing sometimes.
And weirdly, as serious as I take it, I can't take it too seriously. I have to play while I'm writing--enjoy it and write something that I find interesting. Because sitting down and Writing Something Serious and Important doesn't seem to work.
No matter what I do, I don't know what the reaction will be to my next story: disappearing, getting trashed in reviews, or what. But it doesn't matter. Writing can't be about that. It can't be about the money, if any. (Oh, and it's really best not to work out how much time you spend and whether you're earning minimum wage, with this work that you spend hours on every day and often earn little or nothing from.) It's best to have fun, do your best, and then let it go.
It's probably really best to not be a writer at all, but I'm not sure I have that choice. :-)
And you know what? Tomorrow I get to get up, sit down, and start typing on a story that I have been longing to write. I get to meet new characters, lose myself in the atmosphere, and wrestle with plot, and I can just feel it's going to be fun.
I am looking forward to tomorrow.