Why Am I Doing This?

I can’t say much about what’s going on in my writing life lately, but I can tell you that I’ve been working harder than ever. Getting up almost two hours earlier so I can have writing time before my day job, squeezing in a little writing at lunch and even jotting notes down while I watch TV at night. Writing on public transportation, writing during vacations, writing on weekends. Writing. Writing. Writing….

I’m exhausted. Although, I’m accomplishing A LOT.

But something happened recently that I can’t share (damn, I’m full of secrets today) that made me pause and ask myself: Why am I really doing this?  The Diva Kerr-ina

Any creative endeavor requires a lot of personal energy, angst and dedication. Throw in the attempt to get published on top of the actual writing and it can become a one-way ticket to Crazy Town. Here are some possible reasons why we creative crazies do what we do:

  • We feel better when we write (sing, dance, etc.).
  • Because someone (or lots of people) was mean and we’re going to “show them.”
  • To be able to brag about our accomplishments like everyone else.
  • Because we truly love it.
  • To make someone (or lots of people) proud.
  • Because it’s been X number of years and we’re starting to feel like the creative equivalent of that damn perpetual bridesmaid.
  • Real or not, we have something to prove.
  • We feel very strongly that we were born to do this.


I am guilty of all of the above.

But please notice that not all of these things are bad. I do truly love writing and I know it’s what I’m meant to do. But all that other stuff? How do I curb it? Because I know it’s only getting in my way.

I don’t have the answer to that question and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the massive amount of money to spend on the therapy I probably need.

But at our recent WRW Retreat, author Jane Porter said something that stuck with me. What is success to you? So I ask you (and myself), what qualifies as success? (For writers – published or not, and for everyone else.)

Getting published? Becoming a best seller? Getting five billion Facebook followers? Feeling useful? Cleaning your house? Getting a raise? Making sure your kid’s hair bow matches her socks?

I’m pretty sure that when I finally get a book published, that “mean” girl is still going to be mean. Sadly, that person I really want to notice me probably still won’t. And as much as I try to deny it, I will always be a writer, published or not.

That’s all I got for you today, my lovelies. Off to research financial aid options for the loony bin….

13 thoughts on “Why Am I Doing This?

  1. Kerri, I wonder sometimes if I am the only that HAS to write. I often feel that other people don’t understand that compulsion. Do you share that? Is it more than a job to you? Because the hardest thing then is to make the switch to publishing/marketing. I wish there were someone who could be in the middle of that to just let those of us who must write, write and do the promotion for them. I urge you to keep on writing. I suspect when my kids are gone, and some of my other pressing duties have abated that my publishing life will actually take off. So you are not alone in this boat. And you are being read, by people who care and follow your words. I hope that’s a comfort during your day.

    1. Beth, that comment means more to me than you’ll ever know. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Hi Hero 😉 You say this is all you got for us today but I know you’re givin’ it all you got and if that’s not success, I don’t know what is. xoxoxo

  3. Kerri,
    Success is when you’re happy. PERIOD! When we can be happy doing what we love to do, and not have to keep up with other people, only then can we be happy. I gave up on doing the querying rounds for years. I decided to just write. Because that was what made me happy. Certainly not rejection letters in my inbox or obsessing about what other people were doing that I wasn’t. I have no idea if I’ll ever get published, but the whole idea doesn’t make me crazy anymore.
    I love the writing friends that I’ve made. I love creating stories. I love writing again. Well, maybe not right this second because I just finished revising a first draft and want to hurl my laptop out the ever-lovin’ window! Seriously. You know how much I hate revising. 🙂
    Just write. Write for yourself. Write for Penelope. Write for all your characters who need to come out and play. And you will be happy!

  4. Great post and insights Mermaid Kerri. What is success? When I started my marketing business I was asked a similar question, it was – do I want to own an island? If I had said yes, I would have known what kind of business I wanted to create to accomplish that goal.

    Goals are good. Outside of the undying need to write stories, I believe that if you choose to make writing a career then you have already made one significant decision – you are writing to be a published author. Nothing wrong with that statement. You are writing to be read, and therefore, you should look at the business side of writing and make choices about how you want to build your career. Yes. That might sound painfully uncreative and business-like to some, but to others, being able to separate the creative journey from the business responsibilities of writing is toughest part of being a writer.

    To me, however, the first step – write (finish) the best book you can write. Second step: Read, read, read, and learn your craft – third step – SMILE – because you are doing what you want to do. It may not always make you happy, but you’ll end up happy!

  5. I was sitting there beside you when Jane Porter spoke at retreat and her words have stuck with me as well. I think success is different for everyone, but what truly matters is that you are doing something you enjoy that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Published or not, I don’t think there is a feeling in the world that can compete with THE END. Having that sense of closure, and knowing that you’ve just finished writing a fantabulous story that you can be proud of.

  6. Life is what you make it. Follow the dream that makes you happy. Please don’t judge yourself too harshly. Success has many definitions. My mother had six children and prided herself in our six college degrees. Her success was found in serving and nurturing others.

    1. Yes, yes and yes! You know I love me some Darryl and HATE my student loans!!! 😉

  7. Thank you, dear friends and readers for the lovely comments today. I was actually driving most of the day from a wedding over the weekend back to VA, so I haven’t been able to pop in like I usually can. But today is also a very special day because it’s my cousin, Jasen’s, 26th birthday, He passed away two years ago.

    I didn’t write this post with him in mind but now I’m totally connecting the two. In his twenty-four years on Earth, Jasen truly lived life. He only did things that made him happy and that’s why he the most amazing smile all the time. He may have been my little cousin but I aspire to be like him.

    Writing makes me happy. The publishing world… not so sure yet. But writing is a definite yes, yes yes.

    Happy Birthday, Jasen. Tomorrow when I return to writing, I’ll be thinking about you! 😉

Comments are closed.