I answered 20 thought provoking questions for a blog interview this weekend, one being what is the hardest part of being a writer? Hmm. I'd already whined in the interview about how hard it is to write a really good sex scene, so I had to dig deep for an answer. While I thought about it, I switched screens to my WIP and did a check of the word count. 16,105....which means I've still got 80,000 words looming ahead of me. The answer crashed into my mind with the subtlety of a freight train.
The hardest part is not giving up. Sure, every word on the page is a victory. But look at the picture on the left. When I finish writing a chapter, I feel like I've made it to the top of that rock pile....except that huge cliff above - the rest of the manuscript - still awaits me. Yes, I love to write. But especially if you aren't contracted already, the urge to quit assails quite often. It erodes your sense of fun and satistfaction, leaving you with doubts and questioning your priorities. Without a guaranteed payoff or reward of some sort it takes an immense amount of self discipline to keep going. Especially when life gets in the way, another agent rejects you, or your middle sags like an overused hammock.
Why don't I give up? Well, I do love it. Kind of like going to the gym, the anticipation is the worst part. Once I sit down at the keyboard, my fingers fly and the fun kicks in. Also, I have a shocking lack of humility. I believe in myself, and I truly believe my writing is good enough to be published. Each book I work on feels better, more polished and entertaining than the one before. And I truly believe we have to pat ourselves on the back - frequently. Because let's face it; there are long stretches when nobody else will. Question of the day: what makes you keep going, against all odds and reason?