As I am typing this, it is Day 5 of NaNoWriMo (although when you are reading this, it may be Day 6), and I am taking a break from my 16-hour work shift. I’ve been reflecting these days about why I write, and what keeps me writing.
Writing is hard work. I make up characters in my head and give them a story. I create worlds and (somehow) make them seem realistic. I try to find words to match the exact ideas that I imagine, but when I reread my writing later, the scenes sometimes have the same intensity as they do in my head. Sometimes when I write, I get into the flow of things and I think, “wow, this is awesome! I am a good writer!” Sometimes I think I suck at it.
Writing is also the reason why I probably don’t sleep as much as I should. I drag myself up every weekday to get to the cafe before work. Sometimes I stay up late writing because I really want to finish a scene and get it out of my head.
As a writer (or some may say, aspiring writer because I’m not published yet), I don’t get much in terms of positive reinforcement. I don’t get money for each hour that I spend writing. From the time that I start a novel to the time when I put the last word on the last page, no one is there to say that what I’m writing is actually good stuff. When I send my novel out to beta-readers, I get positive feedback but often also lots of pointers about how the scenes can be made better.
So yeah. Writing is hard. It’s no small feat. BUT WAIT, it is not all doom and gloom. This blog post is titled “An Ode to Writing” after all!!
Despite all this, I still choose to keep writing. And that’s because I truly enjoy the process. It’s a truly stressful time at work right now. I work long hours and when I am not at work, it is sometimes hard to take my mind off of work. In the past, there was a time when I really hated where I was and what I was doing. What I love about writing is that it takes my mind off of everything that gets me down. As I delve into my world and the mindset of my characters, I forget about my troubles and I focus on my story. No matter how tough the day, by the end of the writing session, I feel great. In the world of fiction, everything is possible.
The second thing I love about writing is that it gives me something to look forward to. In our everyday life we look forward to the big things, like vacations, holidays, a new job or even an event with friends. These things come and go, and I feel satisfied though sad when it’s over. For example after a great vacation I dread going back to work (who doesn’t?!) After a fun and eventful weekend I am not looking forward to Monday. But when I am working on a novel, I am so excited for the next day because I get to write more. It doesn’t matter if the next day is a Monday or a Wednesday.
Lastly, I don’t think if I could have continued writing if not for the fellow writers that I’ve met online and in real life. It is inspiring to hear from others who are either in the same boat or are at a different point in their journey. It motivates me to keep writing. And I cannot thank my beta-readers more for every comment they make on my manuscript, because it really helps me to reflect on my own writing to see how it can be improved. I always thought that writing is an isolating activity (you literally sit there and type onto a screen haha) but because of the awesome writers that I’ve met, I don’t feel alone.
And that’s my rant for the day 🙂
About My NaNo Project, “Fog”
No one knows where the Fog comes from. All they know is that those who enter the Fog never return.
Luna and her twin sister Treya live in a town on the coast of Suni. Luna is the quiet one, while Treya is charismatic, powerful and the pride of the Delphinus Clan. Treya has already decided to be a Sorcerer and join the Queen’s Army, just like their mother and father. But Luna doesn’t know what she wants to be; also, joining the Queen’s Army seems like a lot of work.
On the day of their graduation. Luna rescues a boy from the edge of the Fog. His name is Caio Amadeus Vladimir and he looks nothing like anyone in the country. Caio wants to go into the Fog and map out the lost regions of Suni, and he asks Luna to be his bodyguard. Luna thinks he is delusional.
Until Treya disappears on a misty day. Luna will do anything to bring her back.
My NaNoWriMo Progress: 12701 words / 50000 words
A Snippet from “Fog”
A wave of nausea rises in Caio’s gut. This is his least favourite part of sea travel. He pulls out a bottle of anti-nausea pills from his pocket, dumps two into his hand and swallows them. He closes his eyes, so as to not look at the wobbly horizon in the distance. The attendant had suggested that he sits on the upper deck to get some fresh air to ease his queasiness, and he had foolishly listened to the man’s advice. Caio leans back in his chair, trying to think about anything else other than his seasickness. That is the advice from from Roy, his butler at home, who had known his maritime affliction.
Caio hadn’t said goodbye, not quite. He did say goodbye to Roy, who had carried his luggage down to the harbour of Pasnia. He said goodbye to his maids, who had laundered and pressed his clothing prior to his travel. But he hadn’t had the chance to see his mother. He was too busy, between ensuring his maids had packed his clothes in the correct order and visiting the doctor to get a medicine for his seasickness.