The Dark Before the Dawn?

I’ve been thinking about what it is that keeps me writing and working at something. Because most of the time it is really hard to keep going. I would never ever give up writing. It’s as much a part of me as… I was going to say breathing but that might not be right. As remembering to eat meals might be closer to the truth. It’s not instinctive like consuming nourishment but it is somewhat learned like scheduling specific times to eat and knowing that within those loose parameters (morning, noon, evening) there will probably be some eating of a kind.
I write in the mornings. Starting after my morning hike at about ten. I have, for the last year or two, aimed for specific word goals which regiment my writing life to some extent. Sometimes I’m done before lunch. More often I’m done between 1 and 2. I write in the same way I exercise every day, floss my teeth and do these weird Pilates crunch things at night. They’re supposed to strengthen my core.
I do these things but what is the motivator besides routine and a certain amount of discipline?
Joy- certainly, but only in those rare, few moments when the words are right and many. That doesn’t happen often.
I realized that it is basically two things.
One- that I know that if I keep to my word count goal, eventually I will finish a manuscript.
And Two, that I have done it before.
That is probably the more important realization.
I have done it before and been published.
I have done it before and found an agent (twice).
I have done it before and ended up with something I am not happy with but I have learned much during the process.
I have done it before and been content even if the work has been stuffed into a drawer only to be discovered after my death.
What gives you the strength to keep on going?
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3 Responses to The Dark Before the Dawn?

  1. Justine says:

    The thought that if I give up, I’ll never know what might have happened…

  2. Donna says:

    Interesting. I have never really thought about what gives me strength to do this. I write because I love it; I think I am good at it; I want to get better at it…

    I could seriously think of twenty reasons straight off the top of my head, and then aided and abetted by some chocolate, twenty more!

  3. Jo says:

    Certainly writing gives me something which nothing else does but I wondered what exactly and it seemed intangible when you got right down to it. A drive, something so wrapped up with my own identity that I can’t really separate it.
    I think, partially, that I write to figure things out.
    Often it is lonely, thankless, secretive work without much understanding and support except from other writers. Thank goodness for other writers and the community that exists out there.
    And thanks to both of you for your comments!