I always have at least three manuscripts in various stages of progress at one time. On the upside, I'm never stuck. I can always write--something. On the downside, I find it easier to put aside a manuscript that's challenging me and just not working when I should, perhaps, hammer it out. I know a lot of writers who work this way. And I know a great number of writers who work on one manuscript at a time. Two ways of getting to the same place.
What I'm wondering about is this: What keeps you going? What sparks an idea, lights a fire under that bit of inspiration?
It's no accident that I think about this today. Today marked the third anniversary of The Women's Fiction Writers Exchange--my online critique group. Three years ago, I was still somewhat naive about the writing process and all that a writer needs to shape a story into a salable manuscript. I founded the Women's Fiction Writers Exchange, clueless about the elements of a good critique. Fortunately, I was blessed with good writers who knew how to critique, how to take that rough idea laid out before them in point of view shifts, passive grammar, and sometimes without the punctuation to provide the necessary stops and starts--and shape it into a polished work fit for human consumption. It also doesn't hurt that these women like to laugh and have a good time.
Aside from the love of writing and the sheer thrill of seeing my words in print, here is one thing that keeps me going: the writers with whom I share this amazing journey. Writing is a solitary, reclusive task. At some point we each have to come out of our cave and join the clan for sustenance, be that by sharing our stories, seeking comfort from the wounds of rejection, or rejoicing in those little and (if we're lucky) big victories.
So, here's to the my fellow writers who share my disappointments, help to shape my words, and supply the music for my happy dances.
What keeps you going?