You get an idea. You are sure it’s the best thing ever—everything else you’ve worked on, even the manuscript you are currently querying, pales in comparison. Those poor agents who are reading your crummy words—they deserve to read this astonishing story that will eclipse everything you’ve created thus far. You know, the story that you haven’t even written yet. Oh, but it’s there. It just has to get born, you know?
You start writing it. It’s coming along pretty well although you worry you aren’t inserting enough sensorial detail in it. What is the weather doing?!? you ask yourself in anguish. You stumble over dialogue. You realize you don’t quite have the plot figured out. But these characters! Oh, how you already love and know and cherish them.
But you have to find the time! Where is the time? You work the day job, you work the night job, you work the third freelance job. You try to be a mom and a partner and a friend. You fall asleep after dinner on the futon with the dog and wake up with a headache. You realize you really don’t know what’s going to happen next, but this dialogue is so good that maybe it will just get you there. Maybe your character will say something and the lightbulb will go off in your head, and you think, “Hey! That’s my plot! Thanks, imaginary person!”
Me & aforementioned dog, pre-nap
And then you think: come on. Say something. Anything! And you think: Oh yeah, I’m supposed to write what you say. Think! Think! THINK!
You drink some coffee and start writing and then it’s really coming along well. Alright, you’re getting somewhere now! You look at the clock and realize you have 5 minutes to get out of your pajamas and into your work clothes and out the door.
You go to work, you go to the grocery store, you pick up your kid from school, and there’s always the quiet whisper of those imaginary people…”Don’t forget us.” “Where are we going next?” “Would I really say that?”
You start to panic. Your idea is SO good and SO unique and SO special and this is the one that’s going to get published. It really, really is. But what if someone beats you to it? What if you just figure out the plot and the writing is coming strong and swift and some other idiot writer’s idiot bestselling book hits the idiot shelves and it’s almost the same plot AS YOUR OWN IDIOT BOOK, oh help, oh no. Write faster! Hurry up! WRITE GOOD NOW.
You wonder why you are doing this to yourself. You ponder the excruciating reality that perhaps you aren’t as good as you think. You tell yourself: “Might as well keep going. Who’s it hurting?” Upon the latest rejection, you answer: “Me, you dolt. It’s hurting ME.”
Wondering why you keep writing doesn’t stop you from writing, because truly, that’s what you have to do. There’s really no other explanation.
Time passes, and you keep going. You remember why you keep writing every time you solve the plot puzzle, or write the dialogue that makes you proud, or hug your encouraging friends at the writers’ group.
You keep going.
And you write a blog post about it.