An updated dictionary? A new laptop? A stylish writing desk? A comfy writing chair? A virtual assistant to help keep the virtual scraps of paper under control? If only it was as simple as wishing for our two front teeth. These days, with a quick trip to the dentist, it’s an entirely possible dream. Reference books, computers, furniture and PAs are just as achievable. But a writer’s wish list is a little harder to fulfil.
When you’re working and raising a family and keeping a house clean and maintaining a network of friends and trying to find some you time amongst all that, trying to find some writing time can be near impossible. And if you’re confusing you time for writing time, then you’re doing either yourself or your writing an injustice.
Time is essential to writing and every writer wishes they had more of it.
Money, in and of itself, generally isn’t of interest to writers. It’s what money allows a writer to do, which is work less and write more. It’s also very handy for paying manuscript assessors, editors, book cover designers, printers and marketers in helping your writing get to its end stage.
I suppose the desire to be free from the necessity of work isn’t unique to writers – anyone with a passion that isn’t what they spend their nine to five doing dreams of it. But since I’m a writer, I like to imagine that writers dream of it more.
I think the famous saying is something like 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration but you can’t make inroads on that 99% without first getting the 1% out of the way. You have to have the idea. And although the history of writing is relatively short in comparison to history generally, the longer we write, the more ideas are taken up, usually by someone else.
All writers are looking for that one great idea.
Sometimes, even when you have the time, money and inspiration, you just don’t want to write. A lack of motivation doesn’t mean a writer won’t write. It just makes it really hard. It means having to force yourself to sit down, to turn on the computer, to open your manuscript file and to work on your writing when you’d rather be doing just about anything else.
Writing is so much easier when you’re motivated.
Even with all the time, money, inspiration and motivation in the world, sometimes a writer needs a little luck to take the final step with their writing. Whether it’s knowing the right person, catching the right person’s attention or choosing last year to write about a subject that is this year’s flavour of the month, there is nothing that beats a little bit of luck.
Unsurprisingly, the common theme through all of the items on a writer’s wish list is that, for the most part, they cannot be given to the writer. Only the writer can make them happen, usually through hard work and sacrifice. The harder writers work, the more writers sacrifice, the more time, money, inspiration, motivation and luck they will have.
So if you were hoping to read this and be able to tick the name of the writer in your life off your list of people to buy festive season gifts for, it won’t be happening. At least not in any tangible sense. But I did leave one thing off the list above that every writer appreciates. And that is encouragement.
Writing, regardless of what kind of writing it is, can be a long, hard slog and sometimes the only thing that keeps writers going is some genuine praise here, a pat on the back there and a little bit of support, in whatever form it comes in.
Happy holidays to all writers, readers and the people who keep them going!