Do we really write because we want the kudos that goes with it? Okay...probably. But deep down, we all know: Writer's MUST write. There is no other way around deciphering the mess going on inside our minds.
Eventually, it becomes a need. It's like food and air and fresh running water. Without it, we'd simply cease to exist; wordless zombies walking the earth one sentence less at a time.
It is so important to balance out life and writing. Too much writing = a neglected group of friends and family. Not enough writing = overwhelming confusion of twisted story lines until we end up in straight jackets, mumbling under our breath about wayward characters.
What's important to a writer? What do we need to keep pushing forward; to keep writing that next page?
I met a writer who was quirky and weird and he, very kindly (and I suppose bravely) let me read the opening chapters of his book. He told me he was a self confessed people watcher. I thought this as quite strange, and although I am exactly that, I perhaps would never have admitted it in that stage of my life.
So here I am admitting it now: I am a people watcher.
What does this mean? I observe more than I interact. We all know that most writers are introverts. It comes as a 2 for 1 deal. I've always been aside from the conversation and taken in the personalities of others. I watch them speak, their hand movements, the way they cut people off and promote themselves. I can walk into a room and tell you the cheats and liars, the lovers, the enemies and most importantly, the reserved artistic folk.
I can also tell you who is confident in their skin, and who is not.
Next time you're talking to someone and they become passionate about a topic, even if it is about their dislike for someone else, take it all in, file it, and save it for a rainy day.
Solitude is one of the key needs for a writer. There is just far too much going on in our heads to be able to deal with life as well as the lives of our characters.
Think of it this way: While you're writing, you're in a whole other world with close friends, dealing with big issues and once it's all over, you return to the real world with friends and family trying to deal with all the big issues. Sound exhausting? That's because it is.
Putting aside specific time to focus on writing will not only help the creative process, it will allow you completely shut off - from both worlds.
In a previous post, I talked about defeating writer's block by writing within a different genre. (See that post here). What about reading outside of your preferred genre? You may be presently surprised.
Writer's find inspiration in so many ways, but when we read something that really moves us, that's when the inspiration really hits.
Here's the hard truth about deciding to write: You're going to do your best writing when you're tired. Caffeine is your best friend.
But hey, not everyone is a fan of caffeine in any form, so feel free to replace it with whatever floats your boat.
It doesn't matter how you achieve it, just let those creative juices flow when they come knocking. Be prepared for the 2am 'light bulb'. Don't ignore it. I've done this too many times myself and lost great ideas in the process. I've literally thought to myself 'this idea is so good, there is no possible way I can forget it'.
It's not praise we are looking for, although we will gratefully accept it. We are looking for the honest truth, no matter how harsh that might be.
A bad review hurts, but it's how we use that review that makes the difference.
If it's some random who just likes giving bad reviews, then there's not much you can do about that. What you can do - for those reviews that do give you constructive criticism - is take the advice and decide if you can learn anything from it.
One of my favourite quotes reads: