Tuesday, October 10, 2006


What is the motivation that keeps you at the keyboard, day after day? It makes you stay up that extra hour to work on your book, or get up at 3 AM and fumble your way to the notepad. It makes you put off lunch with your friends or your husband, or turn off the TV when a good old movie is on and ice cream is ready to hand. It makes you keep trying, keep working, even when rejections pile up on your doorstep. What keeps you going? What drives you?

Some say it's the goal. They want to finish a whole book, or see their name in print. They want to touch others with their stories and their words. Some say they can't help it; they've always been drawn to this living between two worlds, this dedication. Some, poor sods, do it for the money. And all of this--except perhaps the money--are valid reasons, real motivators. But they're not mine.

I do it for the high.

If you're a writer, you know what I mean. There's a moment, when you're in the midst of a good scene. You can hear these people, see them. Smell them. They're real and whole, in their own world, in their own story. Living. And you? You made them. Better, you also are them, living in that world. You can cross the barrier, touch the dream on the other side with your own fingers.

I even have this feeling sometimes when I'm just thinking of the book...suddenly it's there. There's the idea, you have it, it will work! Or, Oh My God, if I do it THIS way! I get a rush, pure pleasure and intense excitement. In it is power, certainty, connection to that other, secret world. Fulfillment. A true high.

I'm an addict, I admit it. Sometimes the writing is a slog, or I get disheartened. There's no excitement, no magic, just work. I get another form rejection, and I feel like chucking the whole process in the toilet and giving up. But I remember, see. I remember what that moment feels like, and I want it. I need it. I have to get it back again, just one more time, to feel whole. So I get up, and I close the fun book, and I lock myself in my room, and I write. Because I know, if I keep at it long enough, work hard enough, it'll come back. I'll feel it again.

If you're a writer, you know what I mean. Stand up now and admit it: My name is X, I am a writer, and I'm addicted to the high. If you're not, my friend, be wary of getting started in this crazy pursuit. Once you taste it, you will never be satisfied with boring old reality again.

Medieval Word of the Day: inly: Inwardly (as opposed to outwardly); within, internally; in the heart, spirit, or inner nature; in regard to the inner life or feelings. b. In a way that goes to the heart or inmost part; heartily, intimately, closely; fully, thoroughly, extremely.


Anonymous said...

Me! Oh, me! I'm totally addicted to the highs. I live for them. If I wasn't writing I'd be going crazy knitting until my arms fell off and never feeling fulfilled.

If it weren't for the lows that are made dreadfully low by the highs, this job would be perfect.

Susan Adrian said...


Yes, exactly!! I knew I wasn't the only one. {g}

Cindy said...

Ah, yes. The high. It's been a little while, but I remember. It is the best part.

And about the money...I know it wouldn't be a lot of money, but if things worked out and it was enough to allow me to keep writing and be with my kids, I might be motivated by that. Without the high, though, that wouldn't be an issue, would it??