On one of the forums I sometimes visit, a member posted a question on why we write. My answer was simple enough; I want to inspire others. I don’t particularly care if I someday get a bestseller published or not. I can live with obscurity. But it would be nice to help push someone else into revolutionizing their industry or creating something new.
But there is another reason I write that hasn’t always been part of my life goals. I use it as a means to escape. My current life seems to be populated with an overabundance of apathetic and narcissistic individuals. It makes life frustrating at the best of times, particularly for someone who wants to be helpful and supportive. Unfortunately, my attitude towards work and duties causes people to try to take advantage of me, expecting me to take responsibility for more than I feel comfortable handling. There is also a tendency for people to expect me to prioritize their priorities over my own. But writing allows me to create a world where the protagonist has more control over his or her fate or direction. It’s also very satisfying to build up an antagonist and then have him/her get what they deserve in the end. Unfortunately, I often find that when I most desire to write, I have the least amount of free time to do it. Overtime and weekend events slow my progress on storylines and can be discouraging.
Reading through responses on the forum, several other members also write as a means to escape. Some of them do so simply because they find their everyday lives to be boring, but others also deal with situations similar to mine. Seeing these people make progress on their own manuscripts and querying process helps encourage me to take more control over my own writing.
If I ever want to get a story published, I need to treat writing as a second job rather than a hobby. This may sound like it would take some of the fun or relief out of my writing process, but it doesn’t. It allows me to prioritize my writing over other activities. If I treat it like a responsibility, it becomes a responsibility. And that can remove feelings of guilt or worry when I decline to take on someone else’s priorities over my own. I will never inspire anyone if I fail to take my goal seriously.
If you want to take a hobby to the next level, you need to treat it as more than a hobby. No one will take your efforts seriously if you don’t take them seriously first.