I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
As most of us attend to our New Year's resolutions (which I rarely make, but yes, I joined Weight Watchers online last week), writing resolutions are probably tops on many of our lists.
Today is also the day that many of us go back to work/school. My kids are actually excited! As for me, while I enjoy my day job (the politics, not so much), the thing keeping me going this week is the prospect of a paycheck -- and a good one, at that.
However, when it comes to writing on spec (as they call it in LA), the paycheck is not really a motivating factor. We write, and we hope that someday our work will be read, that someday we may even receive some remuneration for our efforts.
Whenever I sit down to write a novel, the first question I ask is: WHAT DO MY CHARACTERS WANT?
Periodically, when it comes time to reevaluate the state of my career, I have to ask myself, "WHAT DO I WANT?" Or, more directly, why do I make time in my crazy-busy schedule to write? Of course the answer any writer will give (and know she is expected to give is), "I write because I have to." This is true. But we all write because we have to -- letters, emails, facebook posts, whatever our milieu of choice (or necessity).
I am not interested in writing a diary to stick it in a drawer. I am interested in sharing my thoughts, in being heard. As I tell my students, you can speak and be heard by a few people. You can write an article or a novel or a TV show and share your thoughts (carefully edited first -- a major bonus!) with hundreds or thousands or maybe millions or people. How cool is that?
For a long time, I used the technique of calculated low expectations to keep me motivated. If I don't expect to get published, I won't be disappointed. This tactic worked well for me for awhile. Now, the explosion of the Internet has given me a happier position. If I don't get it published through traditional means and have worked really hard to make my novel the best it can be and feel really strongly that it should be published... I can publish it myself if I so desire. I have yet to write anything that quite meets those criteria, but hope springs eternal. :)
Happy writing to all! --Jeanne Marie