Lots and lots and lots of people dream about writing a novel. Fewer people actually start. And fewer than that actually finish.
Writing a novel takes hundreds of hours, the ability to tune out distractions, forcing oneself to buckle down when the novelty wears off, and the mental perseverance to keep going when doubts and the am-I-crazies creep in.
There are lots of things that can stop someone from writing. What keeps you going?
My husband, my critique group, and the satisfaction of finally making a scene really work. Also, I just can't stop thinking about these characters.
sex scenes at starbucks says
Dude. The story. Got to find out what happens next!
1) It's just so much fun to figure out a story and see it become something out of nothing but thought and letters! There's a magical feeling in that.
2) One call from an agent and two full requests on past novels keep the hope of achieving my little goal of novel publication (and if I'm extremely lucky, a writing career) alive.
4) I now know I CAN write a novel or screenplay, however awful it might be, so I wouldn't be doing my duty as a human being if I didn't make a true effort to bring my thoughts/ideas/stories/views to life. I think it's less a pride thing than an ideology: unless we all end up reincarnated, we have one shot to leave our footprints (however small) on the world, and I want to use whatever gifts I might have to do that constructively. Sappy, but true.
I write to tell stories. Telling and hearing stories are how we learn about everything, except fire.
We still learn about fire by sticking something into it, usually a body part.
It has caused me to feel closer to
God. The sense of responsibility to a creation that might have merit and might not. Will it get up and walk and talk and feel the need to exist? Is it stillborn a mere post-echo of what has been? Or a pre-echo of that which is attempting to approach
'Whole" and fully finished just waiting for the writer who has the patience and courage and foolhardiness to seize it and render it the way it seeks to be rendered.
It provides mystery and helps me to understand other peoples work by trying to create multiple layers of meaning all wrapped around a single cable that is the
linear plot line seeking to establish itself.
The better a story the more times I have to stop and let the story assert its will while I get out of the way. A story can come right to the final few scenes and demand a long pause while my mind lets go and the story drags itself across the finish line.
Then when its done it seems like no other ending could have been possible.
In the end. It's fun. Pure self inflicted self absorbed painful joy. Like life I guess.
Spell checkers are very satanic if you really think about.
They force one to conform to the probity of style and grace and other such accouterments and general compromises required of the act of wanting to share or publish.
"In the beginning God created Spell Checker and all spells were cast with amazing accuracy and topological simplicity…
Dot dot dot.
This is going to sound cliche but my daughters. I want to live out that selfish moment when I take my daughters to the book store, show them the book with my name on it, and tell them that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Linda Godfrey says
The need to tell the story, the challenge of improving my craft. The insights that crop up along the way that I hope may leach out through my characters. That's enough.
Simple. I want to know how the story ends!
M.R.J. Le Blanc says
There's a few reasons, but the biggest is because the stories just won't leave me alone.
because i'm a massive escapist.
plus it's a compulsion, like a lot of other people have said. if i'm not writing or reading, i'm usually thinking about writing. the idea of creating is a powerful tool.
and i still need to prove my sister wrong after all these years. that's probably the biggest motivator: sibling rivalry 😀
Let's see – I have a megalomaniac/con artist at large, a newspaper editor falling in love with an unwed mother-to-be, a bookstore owner/jewelry designer newly engaged to a sheriff's deputy, and a kudzu fiber artist avoiding a deeper commitment to her cop boyfriend because of differences in beliefs.
Now, how could I possibly walk away from all that?
BonSue Brandvik says
I tend to fall in love with my imaginary characters and the stories they are trying to tell. I keep writing because I don't want to die with their stories still trapped inside my head. I want readers to fall in love with them just as I did!
When I write I'm following my dream. I won't give up on that.
I enjoy the puzzle of stringing together the right words required to bring to life the characters I am creating. I love writing dialogue and making complex, complicated scenes in which only half the characters understand what is happening, but the reader knows most of it, but not all.
I love when I am writing a scene, a character I had no idea was even in the scene, will arrive and steal the show and create more and more scenes that now have to be written.
I love re-reading my 35,000 work in progress and being upset at the end that there isn't any more to read until I write it.
What keeps me writing? A book called The Seacoast of Bohemia by Arona McHugh. It was published in 1965. I was 18 when the book came out. I still think of the characters, find myself wondering about them all these years later. I think … if I can create something that marvelous …
And I write.
Aimee Laine says
I'm with the countless others that say "the story." For everything that implies, it's true. Can't sleep — it runs through my head. Don't want to do anything else — it's too fun to write. When the story doesn't do that, I let it go. 🙂
I dig up some old quotes from writers I love who experience the same thing. Dennis Lehane and Lee Child experience self-doubt just like the rest of us.
There are people living in my head. Yes, that's what keeps me writing, there are people living in my head and I want to get them out! Linda
Lynn Mitchell says
The voices, they keep telling me to write. LOL!
Seriously, I am the only link to the real world for my characters. How can they continue to live and grow and hurt and dream if I do not write?
I write because I love the feeling of being able to create different characters and controlling what they do, just like The Sims 3 except in writing, there are no boundaries.
Writing is like acting except way better. An actress is allowed to play different people at a time but writing lets you be so many others at once. As a writer, I'm also the director that directs the characters, the producer that creates the stories, the architect that designs the sets and the actress who plays the characters.
I write sometimes because I wish this pretty story happened to me. Likewise, everyone's main character is usually influenced by themselves.
Writing takes you away from the harsh reality and it actually gives you the chance to express your thoughts and feelings on paper and flaunt the beauty with words and not appearance.
Lack of adequate entertainment. I bore very easily.
With an adoring (and needy!) husband, two young children constantly demanding my time and attention (and enormous quantities of food lately!), and graduate school assignments calling my name on a daily basis, writing is my escape from the wonderful, crazy, overwhelming mess that is my reality! It gives me something meaningful to do that isn't for anyone else. I fall in love with my characters – my husband asked me if my "imaginary friends" were going to be included on our Christmas card this year. I LOVE to write, and I'm gratefuj that it never feels like a chore or a burden for me. Maybe because it isn't my career . . . YET!:)
Sheer bloody-minded stubbornness.
There are a lot of things that keep me going but I guess I would have to say the three most important are (1) my kids (to show them the importance of finishing something you start), (2) I believe with my heart and soul I have a great novel and (3) I want to see my words in print. The passion I feel, the warmth that tugs at my soul when I think about others reading and enjoying my words, is overwhelming. I simply can't let the dream go. Not now.
Joseph L. Cooke says
One thing that keeps me pounding away on the keyboard is that I want to find out what happens next in the story. I had no idea what happened between the first and last chapters of Ten Ring when I got serious about completing the book.
– Joseph L Cooke
KP Sheridan says
My characters won't leave me alone. If they're stuck in a forest waiting for me to get them out, I feel guilty…
E. F. Collins says
What keeps me writing? I've answered this question before, so I guess it wouldn't hurt to answer it again. I have to write. It's not like I can choose to do it or not do it. I've been writing since early childhood and completed my first novella at age 12 (which was more than terrible, but that's not the point). My writing got worse as I got into the teens, angst-filled and dark and terrible, but I couldn't stop myself. Yes, my characters talk to me in my head, yes I have one-sided, out-loud conversations with them, and yes they bug me until I finish their story. But they aren't what keeps me writing. It's a weird kind of need that I can't explain. More involuntary than anything. I have to. It's part of who I am.
It's just who I am.
For my first book, it was important to have someone reading the chapters as I came out with them, cheering me on. It got me through it when I might have given up otherwise. Now that the book is done, I write and rewrite to perfect my characters and the world they're in. And I write because I believe in their story and in myself. Writing is also my favorite form of escapism- next to reading ofcourse. Nothing's better than wading in a world you created and having the power to do whatever you want. Kinda like playing god:)
Child, when you're passionate about your topic and your craft–that alone keeps me writing…it just comes out–like a Tiger Woods mistress.
April Michelle Davis says
Though the actual process of writing is secluded, when writers share their thoughts, feelings, and adventures with readers it is the ultimate connection between two human beings. That's why I write – to make that connection with another human being.
in the deep end of the pool says
very simple: i am not sure myself where exactly the story is going, so i like being along for the ride.
J. S. R. Clark says
I keep going because I am so passionate about it and I don't believe in giving up. The other night, in my journal, I sat and wrote my own inspirational quote that I thought I should share: "Giving up is not forfeiting the opportunity to see the outcome of your perseverance. Giving up is the outcome-it just so happens to be a negative one."
Because it's fun. I like the writing part, but I LOVE the revision part. Cutting, adding, moving paragraphs and pages around until they fit right… it's great entertainment.
I can easily kill a boring day at work by thinking about the revisions I'll do when I get home.
I write because I love it! Nothing else can move me to the highest realm of existence and relax my brain like writing. It is my way of traveling to another plane and having true freedom, no limits. I type fast and my hubby says, "when the keys are smoking I leave her alone"
Very wise man!