This topic is particularly good for me this week because I’m finishing up the third novel in my Samuel Craddock series. I sent in the “big” edits and will get the final content edits back this week. That means going back over the manuscript for typos, punctuation, and other stray problems and I’m done. I’m already done with the creative part, and now it’s details.
And that brings me to the question, “What next?” My mind is crowded with new writing projects. There’s a fourth Samuel Craddock, which I know will be due sooner than I think. I’m half through writing the first draft of another book (series? Stand alone? Who knows?) And there’s that historical novel I’m itching to get started on.
Meanwhile, I’m frantically attacking house projects that I’ve put off for….I’m not going to say how long! I would have put them off even longer, but I had my hardwood kitchen floor refinished—which meant moving everything off the counters and into another room. When I started putting things back, I decided it was high time to get rid of accumulated junk. Some of the niches I peeked into haven’t been touched since 1996, when we moved into our house. I’m not a hoarder, so it was way past time to get rid of those lurkers. I’m merciless when I do this kind of cleaning out, because I resent every second I spent cleaning when I could be at my desk, writing.
That’s right. I want to be at my desk. So the answer to the question of why I write is that I am compelled to—it satisfies me. I once thought that everyone wanted to write. Then I asked a friend who had a full-time job and was a passionate reader if she wished she’d didn’t have to work so she could write. I still remember her blank expression and her reply: “I have no interest in writing. I like to read.”
Writers say they are always terrified of facing the blank page, scared that whatever they are writing is going to be awful, worried that no one will enjoy reading what they’ve written. With all that angst from the beginning, it has to be a pretty compelling obsession that drives us writers to go ahead anyway.
The truth is that when you are in the groove and the words are flowing, there’s nothing like that feeling. A good day, or hour, or paragraph is worth all the long minutes of searching for the word that will work, or struggling to tease out a plot point.