Welcome to Writer Wednesday.
One of the basic questions professionals like to ask newbies is this: So, why do you write? The answers are as unique as the folks replying. But, here are three of the most common reasons.
I write because I want to be rich. Nobody actually says this, of course. We know that wouldn’t be polite. Anyone who writes, though, has a little seed buried deep inside that expects our book could be the one to win the publishing lottery. We hear the dismal statistics of how few books actually make a profit. We know scads of authors who still have day jobs. Yet, we keep writing with a best-seller ticket in our mind.
In case you are wondering, writing for riches is not a good idea. Could it happen? Of course. But, if it doesn’t (and it probably won’t) you risk giving up in despair. And maybe you were just one idea away from the most important book of your life. (Which probably won’t make your rich, either.)
So, if you probably won’t get rich, should you quit? Absolutely not. Adjust your perspective. If you are intent on making a living as a writer, check out advice from people like author Jeff Goins. If you want to let your art grow and breathe without the burden of supporting you, find a job that leaves you enough strength at the end of the day to write around the edges of your life. Or, you might even find a willing patron who will support you while you write. (Spouses and parents can be excellent at this.)
I write because I want to be famous. Again, we probably don’t say this, but it creeps in. I entered a writing contest where a Hallmark Movie executive served as judge. Once my story broke through the first round, I started listing in my mind which agents I knew who could handle the TV movie rights for me. Good grief, Charlie Brown.
Wanting to be liked, noticed, accepted, admired, and loved is part of our humanity. We just need to remember where it got us back in the Garden of Eden. Think of the best book you’ve read this year. Do you know the author’s name? How about a movie you loved. Know the screenwriter? Beauty is fleeting and so is fame, to misquote the scriptures. So, let’s look for something more rewarding and eternal through our art. Like friendships.
I write because I have something to say. Ahhhh, there it is. If you don’t have something to say, just doodle on your notepad. Don’t try to become an author. But, if you have something to say that will help the world, start saying it. Maybe your thing is about building a healthy family. Or about how to train your dog. Or about how the Civil War impacted commerce and what we can learn from that today. Maybe your message is how to plant a garden and live a sustainable lifestyle in the zombie apocalypse. We need to know!
Every writer has something brewing in their soul. It may come out in a variety of stories and forms, but it will always emerge. When an editor read my second novel, Rose Hill Cottage, she said, “I love how you write about community.”
I said, “What? This book is about a widow looking for solitude.” Then, I realized I had written community all around her in the secondary characters. I couldn’t escape from my message, and neither could the grieving Nora.
So, why do you write? Have you sorted that out yet? If not, start asking yourself some basic questions, and it will become clear.
(If you figure out the getting rich part, please let me know.)
Resources: Jeff Goins on writing