Sometimes it's not easy to explain writing. I'm not talking about a conversation with family or close friends who get us, I'm talking about the second-tier associate. The acquaintance. The, dun-dun-duuuuun, co-worker.
Co-Worker: "You look tired. Late night?"*
Me: "Yeah, I was revising one of my stories and lost track of time."
Co-Worker: "Writing? As in a book? Like Twilight?"
Me: "A book, yes, but a different genre."
Co-Worker: "Oh." (awkward silence) "So. . . what's it about?"
Me: "Uh, well it's a space opera about a faction that is creating zombie warrior ninja pirates in order to invade the Beltrakian Empire and overthrow the. . ." (passage of time) ". . . BUT, as they make their escape, the Evil Lord Pepperschmitt attacks and . . ." (more time) ". . . happily ever after. Until the sequel, of course."
Co-Worker: *yawns* "Is it going to be published?"
Me: "There's no guarantee, but I hope so."
Co-Worker: (pregnant pause whilst he/she thinks on this) "Wouldn't you rather spend your free time doing something more, I dunno, productive?"
Me: ". . . "
Granted, I wouldn't go into gory details with anyone except a family member, beta reader, agent, or Miss Tennessee, but you get my drift. To us, the story makes sense. So do the hours, days, months, and years we put into them. But to those who don't know us or share our passion, it can seem like a waste of time.
The difficulty is when we begin to convince ourselves of the same thing. Maintaining motivation can be tough, especially when your inbox is stacked with rejections. It can seem like all the time and energy is spent in vain.
The key is to realize that even if we aren't knocking down The Big Bucks or negotiating which scene of the movie version we'll make our cameo, we're certainly enjoying ourselves. We spend hours and years transitioning a plot bunny from the ethereal mist of our minds to the black and white of actual pages because we love it. And because we want to.
When you think about it, isn't that the only explanation we, or anyone else for that matter, ever truly needs?
*this conversation is 92% fictional.