The stories I tell are very personal and often there is a wide-ranging, big picture sort of purpose behind the narrative. Maybe there is no specific or obvious statement, but there is a reason behind the tale.
It’s been my hope to write a book that helps people understand the reality of their fellow humans, create a story that lifts the curtain and spares a glimpse of some extraordinarily ordinary person. And in turn, I want anyone who reads me to feel they’ve been seen or heard. Maybe understood. I’d like to make people feel less alone, the way my favorite books or songs work for me. With my intentions and experience, I thought I had something to say that might help someone. Who knows?
If no one is reading what you write, should you keep writing? Truthfully, it depends on why you write in the first place. I love to write. It relieves me, energizes me, and excites me. Maybe putting everything down on paper helps make sense of all the parts that make up my life. I simply know, if I’m not working on a story, I feel mentally rudderless, with no direction or drive. Therefore, I believe, I will always write. Does it deserve my time? I guess.
Getting an idea for a good story is such a charge; creating the characters and scenes, connecting the dots together. And when I’m able to carve out time to write, it’s also a big rush. It’s an exciting and guilty pleasure. I actually get cranky if I don’t write on the regular. But it can also be tedious and mundane, with every word you put down on paper sounding useless, or worse, like lies. And in end, does it even matter? Maybe not.
I’ve been fortunate that good writers who love to read have read my work. I’m lucky in that talented editors have helped me break bad habits, learn my weaknesses and strengths, and grow as a storyteller. I’m glad I take criticism well, and I’m frankly disappointed if changes or edits aren’t plentiful, because that’s how I learn to become better at writing. And really, what I want is to become a good writer.
There is also the responsibility to my first job. I have to make sure my children don’t suffer because of my secondary obsession. They need my time and attention, every ounce of energy I have really needs to be directed to their benefit. I’m one of the few stable things in their life, and that is a terrifying thought. Should I think of what makes me happy? In measure.
Do I want my girls to see me give up? When I don’t get what I want or life doesn’t go the way I’d hoped, should they watch me simply tap out. No. That’s a horrible idea. Life is nothing but adjusting your perspective to the large serving of chaos you’ve been given and will continue to be given. Life is always testing you. I don’t want them to give up, so I can’t give up. I need to look at this other love of mine in a different way. With fresh eyes. And I need them to see me taking the punches and getting back up.
I come to the question I’ve been struggling to answer for several weeks. Do I keep writing? I guess, yes. Because I don’t have to be well-known or successful to write. I don’t need money or props. I just need my ideas and time. One element is renewable and the other is a resource that continues to tick away. If given time, grab it with both hands, write while everyone is sleeping, and never close my eyes to inspiration. Set an example for my girls.