Today I received something through the post. My grade 8 certificate for flute from Trinity Guildhall. It occurred to me some time after that this was it. It might be my last certificate or award for playing the flute ever again. I’ve since stopped taking flute lessons since starting my Computer Science degree. After all, there isn’t much point since I’m not going to be doing it professionally in the future and I’m already stacking up quite a nice debt. £9000 a year for my undergraduate education, not to mention I still have to pay for accomodation. Sure, the student loan helps, but it isn’t enough.
So in the grand scheme of things, what was the point? And why do I still play the flute? Because I love it. It’s an interest of mine, whether or not I end up playing with a big orchestra. And it’s the same for writing. The truth of it is that many completed manuscripts never see the light of day, and many more never even get finished. I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, mind you. Just know that if you’re doing the writing thing because you want to be famous, I’d advise picking an alternative career. Write because you have something to say. Or because your characters demand to be noticed. Mine do. I stay up at ridiculous hours sometimes to get short stories finished. One time, I wanted to write something serious and thought provoking but my MC was adamant that he really just wanted to get it on with a bellydancer.
So sometimes ideas will feel like they’re forcing themselves on you and sometimes you’ll be scraping the back of your mind for something new and exciting. Sometimes you’ll be bathing in happy comments from readers, and sometimes you’ll be swimming in the waters of your own sad little soul. The writing process is long and arduous but don’t give up. Set yourselves goals and give yourselves little treats along the way. Listen to your characters but if they start talking general nonsense, remind them who’s boss, and that as the writer, you are their GOD!
Just remember, if writing were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.