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The Impossible Question (by Judy Croome)

Thanks to Judy Croome for this lovely Guest Blog Post!
What if? is the
hardest question in a writer’s life. Except for the lucky few, there comes a
time in every author’s life where we have to ask ourselves this hard, some
would say impossible, question.
How can two small words be so impossible?
Because, when you ask yourself “what if?” you may find the
honest answer is not the answer you dreamed of when you first put pen to paper
(or fingers to keyboard).
Let’s try asking ourselves some “what if” questions for writers:
What if … I never
sell more than a few hundred copies of my self-published books?
What if … my
manuscript is never accepted for publication by a traditional publisher?
What if … this is as
good as it gets?
What if … (fill in
the blanks)
Feeling depressed and de-motivated yet? There’s no need, unless
you’re at the point in your writing life where your secret doubts are bubbling
away in the recesses of your heart, unanswered or unrecognized.
Depending on your personality, you’ll either suppress or deny
those doubts and continue writing, becoming ever more disillusioned with the
writing life, or the doubts will overwhelm you and you’ll stop writing
altogether.
Are these the only two alternatives in a writer’s life: disillusionment
with, or abandonment of, the writing life?
Well … no.
Whether we have the genius (and good fortune) to become a
best-selling, award-winning author, or whether we remain an obscure author,
it’s important for our creativity to face our doubts and overcome them.
If we start by asking ourselves some hard “what if”
questions, we may stumble across an interesting answer:
What if … I never
sell more than a few hundred copies of my self-published books?
Answer: I’ll still
write anyway.
What if … my
manuscript is never accepted for publication by a traditional publisher?
Answer: I’ll still
write anyway.
What if … this is as
good as it gets?
Answer: I’ll still
write anyway.
From the doubts and fears we faced by asking our “what if”
questions, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of our writer’s hopes and
dreams, we will make the leap into true creative writing.  
This transformation will not miraculously change us into the
next best-selling author we’d dreamt of becoming when first we started writing.
No, the tectonic shift that comes from asking ourselves the impossible
questions about our writing will propel us onto a path of discovery that will
change our inner landscape forever and, by some curious alchemy, we’ll stop
writing for external validation and we’ll begin to write for the sheer joy of
writing creatively.
For, if we know that our worst fears and doubts about
writing are true, and still we’re
driven to write, it’s only then we can truly call ourselves A Writer.
We do not
write because we want to; we write because we have to
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)
What are your doubts about your writing? Along what new paths
of discovery will they take you? And where will your writing end up when next
you ask yourself what if … ?
The answers may yet surprise you.
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Judy
Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the
African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy has numerous other short
stories and poems published in journals and anthologies. Her independently published novel, “Dancing
in the Shadows of Love” (2011) and her debut collection of poetry “a Lamp
at Midday” (2012) are available from Amazon and other on line stores. Visit www.judycroome.blogspot.com  or follow Judy on Twitter @judy_croome
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