I have no good reason to offer you to explain why you should keep writing. In fact, if you can stop writing, you should do so immediately.Being a writer means a life of solitary grappling with the blank page. It means driving yourself mad at 1, 2 or 3am when the story “isn’t going well.” It means countless hours of re-writes, edits, and wrestling with the same questions – too much? not enough? done before?
There are so many other things to do with your time, the chances of large scale success so small, the costs of mental anguish so high, that to proceed down this path is folly. Madness.
You’re still here?
Let me remind you that incomprehensible amounts of rejection await you. Every item you will ever write will be rejected numerous times, sometimes for years on end. You will have some pieces that can never get placed, regardless of the amount of time and sweat equity you put into them.
You are still reading.
Now I have to point out that, as a short story writer, you will never, ever, ever make a living from doing this. The vast majority of your works, even if accepted and published, will be done on a gratis non-paid basis.
I’m unclear as to why you continue reading this post. I’ve pointed out all the things you will face – anguish, hardship, rejection, lack of monetary compensation, pain, and dejection. I have given you no upside, and yet you persist. Do you think I’m going to end this item with some uplifting banter about how it’s not really all that bad?
But I am going to tell you that if you got this far, you are still filled with the hope that your compulsive obsession of jotting words down on a page and assembling and reassembling those words for hours, days and weeks is meaningful. And for you, writer, it is.
Your need to write defies all that is logical and sane. You stand in the face of repeated rejection and stare into the dark abyss of knowing people may not be reading your stories and you do it anyway. You can’t pay all your bills and you have a job (two jobs?) on the side, but you aren’t going to stop no matter what people tell you.
And there it is. You can’t stop. Writing is your drug of choice. It creates satisfaction within you; it’s an act that you do for its own sake. No one needs to tell you to keep going or to stop. It’s not an optional activity – it never was for you and never will be.
So please, for the sake of your well being, don’t ask yourself or others to validate your need, your obsession, your inexplicable compulsion to be a writer. You will never find an answer to that question because there is no answer. It’s just how it is.