A Writer’s M.O. — Driven or Flowing?

The other day I was updating a friend about a small breakthrough with my writing. She shook her head at me. “I just haven't got the drive you have.” This is a woman who had writerly aspirations too, once upon a time…

I shrugged off her remark, not feeling “driven.” I just like what I do. Even the hard parts. Besides, I'm fairly sure someone who's “driven” doesn't wrestle with self-doubt. I've discovered those battles are most likely to flair up when I'm not writing, so I persist partly to outrun insecurity.

Last month I wrote, tongue in cheek, about the “suckiness” of rejection. Honestly though? Rejection doesn't faze me. That post was sort of an homage to the myth and lore of the sensitive poet, a description that hardly reflects me or my M.O.

In truth, I'm not romantic about this pursuit. To me, writing is as much business as it is art. When an opportunity comes, I get to work. None of that luring-the-muse nonsense. The word count is my responsibility, not hers.

Despite my patchy success, I keep plodding ahead, thankful that the act of writing is intrisically rewarding. Writing is the only thing that gets me into a state of flow–where my mind is so laser-beam focussed that I lose track of great swaths of time. When that happens, and a story is pouring out of me, I'm enraptured. Nothing in this world beats flow.

Too bad it happens so rarely. The bulk of the time, the act of writing is more like trying to catch a spooky cat and stuff her into a carrier. Necessary–yes. Fun? Not really.

I relish the occasions of flow, but I don't count of them. I just hammer out the work. Maybe my friend's comment about being driven is accurate.

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