I only recently became acquainted with February Grace, but even so I found her announcement today bittersweet. A writer with a gentle honesty that can only be described as sympathetic and a voice that was tastefully rich, Bru came to a very difficult decision and retired from her blog and from writing. While I will miss her presence in the blogosphere and her writing craft, I am very happy that she had the strength to make a difficult decision. Please read her blog to hear it in her own words, but she essentially decided that writing had become a burdensome obsession in her life, not simply an art she was practicing.
The reason I wanted to talk about this in my own blog is because I hope this is sobering for other writers. I cannot even begin to count the number of authors I have met in person or in the blogosphere who describe writing as some sort of compulsion. They write because they have to. They write because the stories demand it. They write at the mercy of their characters. If this is you, please don't take offense, but I'm always a little concerned when I hear or read something like this from a writer.
It sounds an awful lot like an unhealthy relationship that for some reason we have just come to accept in our "writerly culture."
As an author, put those words into a character's mouth and see what you think.
"I love him because I have to."
"I love her because her beauty demands it."
"I am a mother at the mercy of her children."
I don't say this to belittle anyone, just to encourage you to think about why you do what you do. Do you write because you love it? Do you write because it's your job? Do you write because it's something you're good at? Or do you write because you feel compelled to?
Compulsions are not always bad. But they can lead to burn-out, frustration, and dissatisfaction. If this describes your approach to writing, I would urge you to take a few deep breaths, stand back, and get your bearings. Before writing becomes something that has trapped you, and from which you need liberation.