A few weeks back, I discussed what might stand in your way when it comes to writing. At last, the follow-up: What keeps you going? (I also did a very similar post last spring.)
Here are some things in my arsenal when the climb gets steeper:
Even if I hit a rough patch of rejections, or edits aren't going the way I plan, inevitably, I always have a new story that I can come back to. As of right now, I'm knee-deep in editing two different projects, and meanwhile, the second book of the series I mentioned last post is screaming to get written (and it's tons of fun). When you get pummeled, remember why you started writing in the first place.
At the end of the day, when I believe that I'm the last person on Earth who can accomplish what I strive for, my husband is always the first to say that I can do anything. Or, we can just relax together so I can recharge my batteries (as I have a habit of overworking myself). Do what you can to find a person like this in your life. It doesn't have to a be a husband or wife. It can be anyone who is an anchor, an ally, someone you can trust to stick around when the going gets tough.
My network of writer friends
Another necessary group of people you should find however you can. Not only are writers the best group of people ever, they get it. The insanity of writing. The frustrations. The drive to create. They understand what it's like to fix a beginning fifty times (or more!). They have wonderful advice, and offer insighful critiques. Plus, you can often meet up together to write. After I met a librarian-writer friend at a conference in 2008, we've been meeting online at least once a week, give or take, for the last four years. Even when I'm exhausted and spent, meeting her helps me keep accountable and gets me writing even when my energy is nill.
My network of non-writer friends
A good friend of mine recently suffered through a very tough loss. She was able to get most of the way by, and she knows the tools necessary to more forward. Recently, she mailed me two bracelets that had two-sided inscriptions. They were as follows:
Bracelet 1: Life is tough: but I am tougher
Bracelet 2: The biggest risk in life: is the one you don't take
Again. Find those anchors. People you can trust. People you can be yourself with. People who can pull you back from the brink.
When it feels like you're going against the grain without much payback, try to look for opportunties to get yourself out of the fray. Enter some contests. Find a critique partner. Keep trying. I've usually found when I'm going through a rough patch, a smoother one is right around the corner.
So what about you? What keeps you going?