FOR LOVE OR MONEY
edited: Thursday, May 17, 2001
By D L Browne
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2001
Become a Fan
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood--and understanding that is what makes all the difference...
Why do you write?
Money? Recognition? To prove you can do it? Or how about that old standby, Creative Self-Expression?
There is probably no wrong answer, but I believe your level of satisfaction with your writing "career" is comensurate with how well you understand why you write, and what you can realistically hope to gain from your experience as an author.
Most folks, when asked why they write, fire off that they write to fulfill the need for creative self-expression. They've got a story to tell. But ask them if they would continue to write if it were guaranteed that no one would ever read a word they wrote. Ask yourself this same question.
There are those (I'm one of them) who write in an extension of their imaginings, a kind of complicated day-dreaming. If I never sell another book, I'll continue to write. In fact, a large portion of my writing is intended for my eyes only. But would I work this hard at it if I knew for sure I was never going to publish again? Would I put myself through the exhausting and exasperating process of writing and actual book ?
The fact that we do submit books for publication indicates a need to share our fantasy, to tell our stories to willing listeners.
Do readers exist without writers? Do writers exist without readers? Some clearly do.
If expressing yourself is as far as your ambition leads, the publishing world is alight with opportunity: electronic publishing, Print On Demand, mushrooming indie presses have flared up to light the darkness of the publishing bureaucracy. If you simply want to share your vision, the internet has made that dream attainable.
But writers, like all artists, have egos. And these egos generally need stroking, feeding...exercising. Most of us want to share our stories and be prasied for them. We want to hear that we moved someone to tears, or made them laugh outloud, or kept them awake all night turning page after page. We write under our own names in the hope that we will be recognized, that we might become a household name like (depending on your household) Mary Higgins Clark or Robert Crais or...uh...Colin Dunne. There's nothing wrong in admitting to an ego, but it's as well to set realistic goals for it.
This isn't to say that fame is not possible; those who carefully target their audience, who work tirelessly to get their work before the right readers, will acheive a measure of recognition. Only you can decide if the attention you receive satisfies your ego. Ego, like brush fire, varies in size and threat.
As for fortune, if you are writing for big bucks, let me assure you there are easier ways to earn it. Only a handful of writers acutally get rich writing—and most of them are not fiction writers, and most of THEM are not mystery writers. If you are a writer solely supporting yourself by your writing, you are doing very well indeed. And you are in the minority. Still you can earn a tidy supplemental income, and you might even be one of the lucky ones who "makes it." Someone has to be, after all.
Writing is hard work. Whatever you hope to gain from being An Author, you need to enjoy writing enough to weather the frustrations and disappontment that dog any creative enterprise (or any career, for that matter). As long as you can keep in mind that writing is something you choose to do, more, that you WANT to do—and not penance for bad judgment in a previous incarnation—you will find your writing life pleasurable and fullfilling; a delight to yourself and those lucky enough to read your work.
Web Site: Wicked Talk
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|Reviewed by Fritz Barnes
|Why do I write?
First and foremost, for the strokes. I love getting positive feedback ("exquisite," and "spellbinding" from my last two reviews sure made my day!)
Of course, I also want to be the next J. K. Rowling when I grow up. I'd love to earn a living by writing, partly because it would get me out of a career that I am bored with. But writing professionally is a dream, not a goal. (The difference, of course, being the absence of a plan.)
But I am realistic (I think.)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and
sorry I could not travel both and be one traveller, long I stood,
and looked down one as far as I could,
to where it bent in the undergrowth.
So I am looking down these multiple career paths, and as far as I can see...I don't think I can take the other fork in the road.
At this point in my life, I don't have the time, nor probably the talent, to develop a career as a writer.
Enjoyed your article. Also enjoyed your website. Keep singing! ...and writing. :)
|Reviewed by Sandi Schraut
|Writing is a need, coming from the depths of our souls. Creativity is a driving force of the human spirit. come and glimpse at some of my poor scribbles.|