We've all been there – staring at a blank page wondering what the hell we're going to write on it, or worse, why the hell we're even trying in the first place. A novel or a play can take years of effort and without recognition or appreciation sometimes writing the thing can start to feel like a waste of a good life. Sometimes it's hard to remember why you do it. Here are some reminders.
Your own peace of mind
Writing for yourself shouldn't be the only reason you put pen to paper - after all the very act of writing pre-supposes a reader – but the fact is that the majority of the time spent 'being a writer' involves you sitting alone writing, so there has to be a considerable amount of satisfaction you derive from it otherwise you're not going to find the energy or the motivation to keep on.
Maybe you have a burning story you just have to tell, maybe you're so appalled by the books you read that you know you can write better; perhaps you just love creating worlds or characters, or maybe you just love the idea of being a writer – whatever your personal motivation is don't forget it – especially in those darker moments of doubt. Deep down we know it's all about the reader at the end of the day, but let's not forget the writer, because without them there would be nothing to read.
Your (potential) readers
When you're sitting on a pile of rejections, when your writing group massacres your every word, when even your own mother is saying 'dear, isn't it about time you got a proper job?' it's hard to imagine that anyone, anywhere will ever read for pleasure anything you write. But don't let yourself forget that they, those potential readers, are why you are doing this. Even if that potential reader is just you, make sure you write what you'd want to read – if you write what you'd love to read, then you can guarantee a readership of at least one, and you can also guarantee that if you love it, someone else will too. People want good stuff to read – that's why you do it.
You will keep getting better
No matter how bad you are at anything, if you keep doing it, you will get better. Same goes for writing. If anything, the worse you are now the better you will get – you've got so much more room for improvement. And here's another thing, the tougher your journey is, the more skilled you will become. Don't envy those people who pour out riveting and beautiful writing like a gift from the gods, pity them – because one day the muse will stop and they won't know how to string a sentence together but you will, because you learned to do it the hard way.
You will never regret it
You will never regret trying for something but you will always regret not trying or giving up. Imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back on your life saying 'I'm so glad I gave up writing that novel so I could concentrate on my office admin career. How very fulfilling.' Doesn't sound right, does it? How about this – 'I wrote fifty two novels and not one of them got published, but hell, I tried. And besides, I bet after I snuff it I'll become a bestseller.' Sounds better, right?
Rejection is not failure
Rejection is just some chump who thinks they know all about writing giving you a bad day. Here's something to remember, if they really knew all about writing why the hell aren't they doing it?
Because they don't know how to.
Rejection is as big a deal as you want to make of it. Sure, you may have been rejected because what you wrote was atrocious, but it's just as likely that the person who rejected you didn't even read it.
You write to turn you and your readers on, knowing you will get better at it, knowing that you will never regret it and laughing in the face of failure. When you put it like that, why would you ever want to give up?