I got an email today from a friend I admire greatly--she is a fantastic writer and an incredibly kind person. Her email, among other things, touched on the fact that she hasn't written in almost two years, something I can certainly relate to (as can [almost] every writer!). It is so easy to get in the habit of not writing, isn't it? I've fallen into it time and again over the years, and it is only through some kind of outside encouragement that I have typically managed to get myself to write frequently (though never entirely regularly) -- things like contests, creative writing courses, etc.
Lately, though, in writing my novel, I've been incredibly motivated to write (whether because I'm excited about the novel, nervous about the outcome, scared it'll be awful, or just feel accountable now that I've told so many people about it, I'm not sure). Whatever the reason, this semi-regular writing has been great for me. I can feel my thoughts coming in more clearly and the words going down more eloquently, I feel more motivated to start writing in the first place (something that only infrequently happened before), and I find my confidence improving (merited or not).
This of course brings me back to the old schpiel every writer is tired of hearing and yet needs to hear again: Writing often is so important for writers! I don't mean writing regularly or writing on a rigid schedule, because sometimes it really isn't possible, and sometimes we really are too busy, and you know what, not everyone works that way. But often, say, once a day, once a week, once every other week. Certainly more often than once a month or once a year! Set your own pace, writers, and make it a modest pace at first--but then speed it up, write more often, make sure you're letting that inner voice out.
Why? Writers are so important. Writers can start revolutions, writers can bring about peace. Writers see a certain depth in the way the world works, in life and death, that other people don't see. And I believe that we, as writers, have a responsibility to share our thoughts and make use of our talents. It may not be for the greater good; not everyone is going to be famous. But you never know! Someday, one person (or two, or three) might have a sudden epiphany while reading your writing. Maybe it'll stop someone from crying, maybe it'll make someone laugh. (Hell, I'd settle for my writing just entertaining someone for a short while!)
But really: talent is such a sad thing to waste.
(Hey, here's a meta thought: Maybe I encouraged someone to write by writing this! Maybe that person is going to be the next amazing, famous writer! Positive thoughts, people, I'm trying to think positive.)
In unrelated news, in case anyone was wondering, the overwhelming response I got from people about my last post (both here and on Twitter) was that I should finish writing the whole novel before revising. (Sigh.) So I haven't started the revision process yet and am still attempting to slog through the incredibly difficult mire that is the ending of my book, which just does not want to be written. Argh. It is a long, slow-going process, unfortunately. I'm more a fan of those sections of the book that just seem to race out of me, to be honest.... Ah, well. More on that another time.
If you're reading my blog, please leave comments and let me know! Do you like it? Is it interesting? Boring? Not engaging enough? Is there something you think I should focus on, or that you would like me to discuss? I'm thinking of writing about the merits of editing next time (seeing as that's my day job and all). What can I do to attract more readers and/or keep people coming back? Any and all advice is welcome! :)