Message from the President

Clair Brett pic Sept/Oct 2023 RWR

Remember your why!
By Clair Brett

School has started, fall sports, all those chores to get ready for winter. Then, there are the usual things that take up our days, hours, minutes. Life. What happens when it all overshadows our writing?

Here is a question: Why did you start writing romance? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Answer the question. Have it? Good.

Now, I am looking at this in terms of making our writing a priority and not losing our love for it, but this can be used to refocus anything in your life. Maybe not doing the dishes, but you get the idea.

When you chose to take up writing romance and made it a priority, you had a reason. It could have been as simple as you enjoy it, or as emotionally complicated as it was one thing in your life you had control over. Maybe you wanted to see your name on a bestseller list, or you want to be published by a certain publishing house. Whatever it is/was, it drove you. That was your light.

Now though, you may be further down that road, but life has gotten in the way. Maybe the market has shifted. Maybe this story is proving harder than you anticipated and it isn’t as much fun as it once was. You are asking, instead of Why should I do this, why should I bother.

I do this in the middle of every story I am drafting. I get to that point where I do not like the story, the characters, usually even the font on the computer taunts me. I am sure you have experienced this at some point with something in your life. It is always a bit of a crossroads moment.

Very few things in life are required of you, so there is no shame in saying whatever it is isn’t for you anymore. If you can picture yourself not completing your Why, then it probably is no longer for you. But… What about those times that you still think about it, you know in your bones that you still care about it. You understand that if you walked away, you would regret it, eventually.

Then, you need to step back and rediscover your Why. Sounds deceptively simple I know. However, in the cacophony of what is our day-to-day lives often our why’s get silenced by the have-to’s or ignored by all the emergencies big and little that arise. At some point all that overwhelms what drives us to be us.

Your Why is what is driving you to be the you, you dream of. How do we get back to that why? It can be as simple as journaling about why you started writing romance. Spend some time living in that moment and feeling all those feelings young you had. Then journal about how your why may have shifted or changed.

You may have made a vision board, pull it out from the back of the closet and relive gluing every item on to it. Have you reached any of those goals? What is holding up your writing dreams?

For me, I have always loved writing, and I started writing romance because I loved reading it but didn’t always agree with decisions that authors made in their stories. I decided if I had that many opinions, I should just write my own.  Over the years I have accomplished some goals, chose to abandon others, but my why is still clear. I love writing and I love the romance community. I like to think that my books impact someone’s life in a positive way, and that my participation in the romance community benefits people as well. So, when I am having a day where instead of saying, "Why not me?" I start thinking, "Why bother?" I know it is time to revisit my why.

I ask if my why benefits me or others in the way I want it to. I ask myself to consider if this is just a difficult day or chapter or if my why isn’t relevant anymore. I revisit my why often in many things I do. And some days my Why may boil down to me being too stubborn to not see a task finished. I can go back and reflect when I am able to slow down and be clear.

I guess what this president’s message boils down to is we should never let anyone, or anything snuff out that light we are guided toward. Do not let the “things” in life get so clouded and dense that you can no longer see your Why. It is still there; you just need to make it bigger and brighter in those rough spots. We can all do hard things if we believe in them. I have faith in you! And please borrow my faith in you if you are having trouble finding yours right now.