Why write when you don’t feel like it?

I’m having one of those days when I don’t want to write. In fact, I don’t want to do anything. I’m leaving on a trip in a couple days, I’ve got someone coming over later today, and I’m worn out from Fourth of July, so I just want to bag the whole business. Why not, you might ask. Lots of folks are taking a long holiday weekend. Good question.

There’s always a good excuse for not doing it. So what are the reasons TO do it? Take a moment here to think about your reasons or try to guess mine.

Got something in mind? Good.

Here are my top five:

Momentum: If I stop in the middle of a project, it’s going to be hard to get my head back into it when I return to it. And I might be tempted to stop altogether. I’m also a musician, and I know that when I’m trying to learn a song, if I don’t keep coming back to it, I never really learn it. Same thing with writing.

Keeping my writing muscles in shape: If I don’t keep to my writing schedule, I get rusty. It gets harder. I don’t like that.

Time: I’m old enough to order off the senior menus, and I’m all too aware that people my age—or any age—can suddenly die or become too sick or disabled to work. If/when that happens, I want to have written everything I possibly can.

Money: I want to publish as much as possible and keep as much money coming in as possible. Self-employed writers do not get sick leave, vacation time, or days off for not being in the mood.

Readers: I have at least a few people who look forward to my next book, article, poem or post. If I don’t keep at it, they’ll lose faith in me and find another writer to read.

So there you have it. I have now written two blog posts and plan to get back to my novel. What are you going to write? What are the reasons that keep you going? Please share.

P.S. Starting Sunday, I’m going to have limited Internet access for about a week. Please forgive me if I’m slow approving comments or putting up new posts. I’ll be back.

Now go write.

What is your writing goal?

Every writing magazine and how-to book echoes the same theme: write, write, write. You must make time to sit down and write every day. Set a schedule, produce so many words or pages. A writer writes. Here are some exercises, some prompts, some ways to gather ideas.

But where is this leading you? If you’re churning out words just to be writing something, what is the point? Is it leading to anything?

Where do you want to go with your writing?

Well, why do you write? It is OKAY to write just for fun. We don’t all have to be professionals. It is also fine to do writing exercises, prompts or morning pages to get your writing muscles warmed up. But if you have a dream of making money or filling up a shelf with books that you have written, you need to set a goal and take steps to get there.

For example, I have three blogs that I believe are moving me toward my goals. Why three? One, Unleashed in Oregon, is for self-expression. I honestly just want to tell stories without worrying about markets or deadlines. I write another, Childless by Marriage, to build the platform for my upcoming book of the same name. I want to attract attention and gather loyal readers who will buy and talk about my book and my Childless by Marriage brand.

The third blog, this one, started out as Freelancing for Newspapers, promoting my Freelancing for Newspapers book. It morphed into Writer Aid when I got weary of talking strictly about newspaper writing. Now I hope it still continues to sell my book, as well as promoting other writing projects and my teaching and editing endeavors.

I have a schedule for blog postings, and I collect material to write about so when it’s time to blog, I have subjects in hand.

But blogging is just one arm of my business. Sometimes I write for self-expression, to capture and share life’s experiences, my only goal to keep doing it. But I also write to make money, to share information, to inspire, and to amuse. I want to keep publishing books, articles, stories and poems. I want them to be good, and I want people to read them. To that end, I always have several projects in the works.

What about you? Why do you write? Where do you hope your writing will take you? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there? Try answering these questions for today’s warm-up exercise. I would love to hear what you come up with. Feel free to comment here.