But, you know, I also wrote before that because it was my passion. There were days when I would write intensely for hours, by hand, with my specifically chosen and specially designated Writing Pen. I remember a month when I felt the Muse had abandoned me, and then sitting by a river with pen in hand, suddenly, joyously reacquainted with her like a lover from the past, madly scribbling out ten or twelve hand written pages.
Writing got me through two divorces, a decade of depression, crippling self-esteem issues and the loss of several family members. It was more than my hobby, it was my Zen, my crutch...my lifeline. Storytelling was an addiction I fed through any means I could. Video games, where I would have my own motivations for my characters on the screen. Role-playing games (SOOO many of those) where my characters had their own voices, their own goals and reactions completely separate from my own. Historical recreation and LARPing, the ultimate in character and story immersion for me. And the dozens of notebooks I filled with half-finished stories.
I haven't forgotten the soul-deep pleasure of crafting the perfect writing environment. The right music, the right light levels, snack and beverage to hand, ready to immerse myself in the characters and let them tell me their stories. Of waiting for my next day off so I could spend the whole day writing, or composing scenes in my head and writing at my own leisure later. Of not worrying about whether or not I finished something, of just living in the moment in the story. There were days when that was the only way I could feel alive.
For a long time, the process was essential. How I went about writing was as important as what I wrote, if not more so. Just the act of writing itself was my primary goal.
But at some point, I got tired of being the consumer. I got tired of being the audience. I was no longer satisfied with just sitting there and watching from the sidelines while others did what I wanted to for a living. I heard the call of the arena, and I jumped in.
Although I’ve bene writing with the intent of going pro, I've only been writing professionally for a year and a half. To get there, I had to change a lot of things about my writing process. I had to take out anything that might give me an excuse to keep from writing. It takes a discipline to write full time that I still struggle with. But one thing I learned is that while my writing process has changed, my love of writing has not. As I get more comfortable with the necessities of writing full time, I find that I can reintegrate some of the things that I used to do back into my writing routine. Just not all of them. But first, I had to eliminate everything that was not sitting down at the keyboard and hammering away.
If you’re an amateur writer, a hobby writer, a Zen writer or whatever kind of writer, do your thing. Enjoy writing to its fullest. I’ve walked that path, and found my bliss there. I walk a different path now, but that bliss came with me. Keep writing, keep doing your thing. There is a purity in what you do that holds a beauty all its own. Gods forbid that light ever go out.