That is the question.
I see that it has been some time since I last posted. There are many reasons for this, including the selling of drugs (my profession), writing my second novel (my passion), and Global Warming (a pretension: but, since it is responsible for everything else...).
There are times when every Writer wonders whether to continue writing; when rejection by Pubbers, writer's block, apathy of loved ones, and derision of critics all, or singly, conspire against us.
Some Writers defeat these enemies of setting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard by dreams of becoming the next Stephen King (Horrors) J.K. Rowling (Hogwarts) or Dan Brown (Hogwash). Others seek Literary Fame in the Genre that Takes Itself Much Too Seriously to Be Enjoyed. I don't have examples of those types of authors, since I don't read them. This will no doubt make them feel better about the value of the outpourings of their souls, since to them I am a Philistine. I write Fantasy.
I wrote my first novel just to see if I could do it. I had help in the form of a friend, let's call her Madam Editor (she has a Master's in English, so perhaps I should call her Mistress Editor. Or maybe even Editrix...) , to whom I submitted the first half of the first chapter. "Pretend this is a creative writing essay," I said, "and put blue pen marks all over it. Please." She asked where the rest of the chapter was. "Um," I said, "it's not done yet." So she told me to finish the chapter and send it.
I wrote the whole novel that way, waiting for Madame Editor's comments, editing, and then on to the next chapter. After I finished, she did a once-over of the entire MS for me. Yes I do know how incredibly fortunate I am. Because I was getting immediate feedback, I learned to do things instinctively that many writers only learn later: writing with your 'ideal reader' in mind (Madam), self-editing, and how to tease your readers with cliff-hanging chapter endings. The Madam called me after one particularly steep ending. "Is Diane dead, or not?" she asked. "I'm not telling you," I replied. "Ok, then," she said, "You have 48 hours to get the next chapter to me."
So I learned about deadlines under threat of grievous bodily harm, as well.
But mostly I learned that writing is something I must do. It's part of how I now define myself. More than that, it is a compulsion, a need, an addiction. The sequel isn't proceeding as quickly as the first, because the exigencies of Real Life have intervened: I have interrupted the thing not because of Writer's Block, but by choice.
And it's been bloody miserable. My mind refuses to accept that my fingers haven't been typing at the usual rate, or frequency, and it rushes off, carried headlong by the Muse, into all sorts of Dreams of scenes that simply beg to be written down. They pile on top of one another, and side by side, till my head has swollen so large it's difficult to get in and out of doors.
I have had, therefore, to resume my former schedule of writing. It was either that or suffer a violent psychic hemorrhage.
Oh, and I had a conversation with Madame Editor today. She hasn't seen any of the sequel yet, since I refused to put her through the ordeal, and she declined to read it without being able to turn the page after a precipitous chapter ending.
"Did you know that McAllister -" I began. "No," she said. "No, no, no." So I tried again. "He doesn't want to be tempted -" I said. "I'm not listening." she said, which I respected, at least until the next time I tease her with a detail or two about the book.
The Writers among you will know how that conversation made me feel. The rest of you can eat you heart out.