Okay, I know there are forums out there, where people write about mathematics, sometimes using mathematics to make a point simply because they love it.
I have to state here, that I do not love maths.
Over these holidays:
I've had to set up the chart of accounts and do the entries for 2 Super Funds (Self managed Superannuation Funds).
I've had to do my BAS (Business Activity Statement) entering all income and expenditure and allocating a percentage to GST (Goods and Services Tax) and working out my GST for the quarter.
AND, (if this is not bad enough), I've had to do 14 pages of year 9 algebra with my 15 year old son so he could catch up with what he missed last school year. I did General Maths in high school (not algebra) and that was almost forty years ago.
Hence the soothing picture of the beach and ocean!
But, as I was working on these maths related things, it occurred to me that with numbers it is philosophically simple. (I'm not discussing String Theory here). You do a bank reconciliation, you account for everything. You are either right or you are wrong. You do an algebra equation and there is a right answer.
After writing books where every word carries nuances that vary depending on your cultural background (US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia), where you build characters with those words, where you build worlds with those words and then you try to tell a story on the shifting sands of these foundations ... maths was strangely satisfying.
I know I can write a good story. (Sometimes I get too close and get something wrong, but I can see this when critique partners point it out). I have written children's books that went out to 5 publishers before they were sold, not because there was anything wrong with the books, but because they weren't what the first 4 publishers wanted. I have Book One of four different fantasy series sitting on my hard drive, waiting for the right publisher/s to come along.
I have the three books of the King Rolen's Kin series coming out this year. I know I can write an entertaining book, but I don't know if the books I write will automatically sell. This was a big revelation after I sold my first children's book. I assumed that once I achieved publication, my next book would automatically sell. I looked on that first professional sale a bit like the Master Plumber giving his apprentice his papers and making him a professional.
Not knowing if a perfectly good book will sell is really frustrating.
If I was an accountant, I could 'write as many books as I could manage' and people would pay me because a bank reconciliation is either right or wrong. No one sits there and says, I liked it, but it isn't the reconciliation I'm looking for right now.
Creative people like writers, musicians and artists get up everyday, pour their hearts into their work and do it, knowing there is a strong chance it will be rejected even if it is good.
Why do we do it?
That's an easy one. We can't stop ourselves being creative.
But how do we keep doing it? How do you shore up our confidence despite the vagaries and indignities of our chosen profession?
Now that is a much harder question.
How do you keep going?