Why do you write? Seriously, think about it for a minute. It's an important question. Most of us probably aren't paying the bills with it. It likely isn't earning us widespread fame, literary cachet or the ardent affection of numerous members of the opposite sex. In all probability, we're hemorrhaging cash to get our manuscripts to markets where we think they'd fit, collecting kindly worded rejection letters from said markets, and badgering friends and family into grudgingly perusing our latest efforts. All of this begs the question with which we began: Why?
You know the answer, of course. You do it because you love it. You do it for those wonderful moments when everything clicks, when your creative vision suddenly comes clear and you have an uninterrupted chunk of free time and you feel that you've known your characters since you were in short pants and the transitions come out seamlessly and everything just flows. You do it for that joy, that delight, that sheer exaltation.
Not that you feel it all the time. For me, it can be as rare as a vegetarian at The National Championship Barbeque Cookoff. Often it's hack-and-slash, cutting back distractions, pruning away extraneous ideas, slicing up overly verbose sections. It's dirty, difficult and deeply un-fun work. And here lies the central paradox, the conundrum in the rationale: The very love that compels us to write in the first place keeps us writing even when it's absent. Or especially when it's absent. Delight buoys craft like passion does a marriage -- in patient tenacity rather than ubiquity, in the promise that past joy brings for its future presence.
(Picture: CC 2008 by Stephen Poff)