For part one, check here:
What keeps writers chugging along through the dark night of the writer's soul? Why was I so tenacious about keeping two short stories in the air, juggling deadlines? I could have missed the deadline for one or both. One or both could have been turned down. There were no negative consequences to leaving both stories unfinished. What kept me churning out the stories in spite of a drawer full of rejections?
I know it isn't the hope of publication, because many times I decided I would never be published. I kept writing and I kept submitting. It certainly wasn't the hope of ever making any money from writing. One year I made $600 for a text book on the Industrial Revolution that was never published. Each time I received a call for manuscripts or discovered a new outlet for my kind of short story, I wrote something new. I almost never resubmit anything.
It's pretty clear that it is the writing I love, not the publishing. I don't start new stories when I have nothing to do but write. I do it when I am busy. I start them if something has happened in my life that needs to be resolved through fiction. Sometimes I don't even know this until I read the finished first draft. Sometimes I have a fleeting idea that appeals to me, and I have to get it down on paper (well, into my computer, anyway). I write because I am a writer.
Why I must write:
I write for my mother who has been dead for many years. She read mysteries and I wrote my first one for her, because I knew I had to write, but couldn't decide what.
I write as therapy. I lose myself in my work and work through my problems by getting the words on paper.
I write to amuse my friends. I have a couple of friends who seem to enjoy pretty much everything I put out. And I myself am happy with the product. I can reread it and say "I did that."
I write to teach. Each of my short stories is a mini history lesson. Maybe even a mini lesson in values. The two stories I juggled last week are just that. One shows the place of women in our society as reflected in the mirror of Victorian morality; the other shows a pessimistic person's failure to grasp the gifts he has at hand.
I write for the discipline of it. The first step is easy, the beginning and ending. Filling in the middle is hard work. Revising after the first draft is painful. Revising after readers comments is almost unbearable. But it is one of the few things I can make myself do that is too hard for me to do.
Mostly I write because I have no choice. My yearly goal is to turn out 12 stories and submit six of them, but I would never do this if something inside me didn't make me sit at the computer and do the work.
There is an upside to all this. This morning my email contained an agreement to publish my "brilliant" story.
Of course I am elated at the complement and the acceptance, but in the end it isn't the publication, but the writing that is important.