What makes a writer or author? Does it mean publishing a certain amount of books per year? Writing a certain number of words? Posting a certain number of posts on the craft of writing?
I’ve always taken a certain approach to this blog in that I always felt I would only post when I had something to say. Most of the time? That’s nothing. Most of the time, I have the opinion: Who am I to tell anyone else about writing? Why does what I have to say differ or matter in a world of millions of posts, articles and videos on the subject?
In the end, though, that only leaves a neglected blog and an author, this author, feeling the same lack of confidence I’ve always felt.
I’ve hit a transition point in my life where I am left examining everything about what I’m doing and where I think I’ll end up if I stay on this path. But this transition period also has me looking back, examining the writer I used to be to the author I am today.
What I see makes me sad.
I use to write for the love of it. The love of words, of places only my imagination could take me to, of people and their stories. I’d hide under the blankets with my flashlight, pen and paper because I needed to finish that last chapter before the ideas flew away. I didn’t think about who might read my stories or what they would think of them because I loved the stories, and that’s all I needed.
Today, I’m 28 with three novels and some other short publications to my name, and I am left wondering what has happened to me. Yes, I still adore reading and writing. Yes, I still imagine strange things and stranger people. But the writing part? That doesn’t come so easily.
This is to be expected to some extent. We grow, we learn, we examine the gears and cogs of writing fiction to create solid foundations for what we write.
Yet, somewhere in my learning, the child who loved writing at all hours became lost. I began looking at my work not as acts of enjoyment and pleasure but as work. I still found joy in the little things, the flashes of inspiration. I’ve begun to judge every work not on the pleasure and joy it gives me but on whether it will sell.
I’ve forgotten how to write for me.
I wish I could wrap this post up nicely with a nicely numbered list of tips for how to get your mojo back. The kind of list that would draw your eye after you’d started drifting over the words on the screen. That’s not within my abilities at this point. I’m still trying to find the answer myself.
However, I do want to say: If you are an aspiring author, never forget the passion. Never forget the reason you started in the first place. If you lose that, it will break your heart, and you’ll have to work very hard to get it back.