There are days that we all say ‘why am I doing this?’ There are days when we all want to give up. It is during these times that we discover how much we really want that dream or that goal. When I began writing books fifteen years ago, yes fifteen years ago – I know, I had no idea that I was in it for the long term. When I began writing I followed the standard route: write a book delude yourself about its magnificence and then approach publishers. After over a hundred rejection letters I realised that maybe that they weren’t all wrong. Maybe I had to up my writing game or give up. Erm… give up was not an option so I decided to continue. What was the best way to continue?
When one makes the decision to continue there usually needs to be a shift of perspective. I could keep writing and get rejected. Maybe I could accumulate a few hundred rejection letters. Once I had decided to continue I then asked the question: how can I create the best writing? What needs to change to write the best books I can? Why am I am I writing these books? Why actually continue?
The best writing answer came with practice. What needed to change to write the best books was not look for external approval. I know that sounds odd but why do we believe we are entitled to literary adoration? Why do we write at all? So when I shifted my approach from creative writing under pressure to finding pleasure in writing then the enjoyment of creating and constructing a story motivated me to continue. When I asked why I was writing the books, well the answer was quite unexpected: I simply have the desire. Why continue – well that desire would never go away. I would be like mentally always needing the toilet.
With the above in mind, and the fact that I was bored of rejection, I thought I would adopt the new self-publishing route. You know what? I am glad I did. Self-publishing taught me so much. It enabled me to be experimental. I wrote some books and left them to brew and thought – nahhh not for the world. I also realised that many of us spend so much time being motived by money to create that we miss the pleasure of creating something really random. After self-publishing numerous books and making no profit at all – when I say no profit – I mean zilcho – royalty = 0. I then returned to the question why bother? Why continue? In fact I had a bit of a tantrum with the Universe. I literally said aloud ‘I don’t get this – if you want me to CONTINUE then you need to send me a royalty by tomorrow. I will only continue writing if you send me a bloody royalty!’
The following day I realised the Universe had a weird sense of humour. I did receive a royalty from one of the digital platforms. The Universe sent me an answer in the form of 12 pence. Yep I received a royalty and that meant I had to honour my statement and continue. Honestly I LOVE LIFE and how it works. Well let’s roll on a few years and now I work as a Communications Manager. I travel the world writing, editing and proofing. If I had not continued I would not travel the world and be paid for it. In the meantime, my books go out into the world and make royalties. That is not why I write. I genuinely like to sit laughing at my own jokes and creating some incredibly fun stories. The thing is I now write what I love, the way I love to write. The pleasure is in the creation and if people buy my creations then that is wonderful. So when the word continue arrived on the prompt, I felt it was very apt… If I had not asked the question why continue then maybe I would have simply given up. The question has since changed. Rather than why continue I ask: what can I create through writing that will provide pleasure and learning for me and possibly benefit others?
LINK TO MICHELLE DRY’S WEBSITE
HMMM WHY CONTINUE?