I saw a post in the LinkedIn group “Before the Ink Dries” by Don Gewywolf ford .This made me curious why writers write.
I’m a curious individual, so much so that I’ve been called a cat. I’m wondering why other writers write? Being new to this industry I have only met a couple of writers. What made you pick up that pencil, pen, or keyboard? What makes you tick, as a writer? What keeps you going?
I mean, it’s a cruel business to be in. Rejection is a guarantee. How many people would go to work everyday for a boss that tells them “We don’t like your work” or “You just don’t have what it takes to advance”? Everyone I know wouldn’t want to, they would find a different job, one that appreciates them.
Self-doubt, fear, that little voice inside always undermining every word you think or write. That thought “I’m not smart enough” and “No one reads my stuff anyway?” or “Is this post worthy?” The self-doubt is heavy, then add the naysayers telling you the same things you are thinking.
The fact that publishers will not even look at you if you are not published, yet you can’t get published unless someone publishes you. Yikes, that’s maddening. The pay is peanuts. Actually, it’s peanut dust. Some don’t pay you at all. You spend hours pouring out your soul, sharing pieces of yourself in your prose, then sell it for $25. Let’s dump some vinegar on that paper cut, that prose is kidnaped for months before you even see that money, since you don’t get paid until it’s printed. Worse, “they” change their minds and not print it, now there’s no money after waiting so long. When or if, you get a book published, you are the one who does all the work. You use your own money, (from that temporary job you do) you put in all your spare time to promote and sell your book. Then, how well you market your own book, and continue to market your book over the years; you may make some money. How’s your marketing skills and networking contacts?
So far, I have not painted the life of a writer in very good light. Painting it in the black of night I think is more accurate. When you consider all that is a “writer” it may not sound like a great career choice. The number of people who make a wealthy living on just writing is a small percentage. Is this maddening, crazy making career choice worth it? Are we just floating down that inevitable shit stream, with a ginormous hole in the bottom of a wobbly old wooden raft without a paddle? The answer I wish I could say is an absolute yes it’s worth it, but I can’t. The answer is very personal.
How much rejection can you take? How much do you want to invest of your time, finances, and emotionally? Why are you doing it in the first place? Have you forgotten why you are writing in the first place? Maybe you are unsure at this point.
I know for me I have those lows, but I write about it. Sometimes my most haunting stories come from those lows. Sometimes its just dripple on tear-stained paper. I say, write about it and keep writing. I do wish that it was a more welcoming industry choice. I wish all writers the courage to continue, only if it is what makes them happy.
So why do I do this? Originally, I wrote to escape reality; my imagination was a better place than what I lived. Over time I learned that through my stories they helped people. I love to influence people either a smile, anger, laughter or maybe even a tear. For whatever emotion sparked, I love influencing it. I want to live my dreams. Now that I am older, I must act on those dreams before I lose time, no more regrets. Perhaps this is selfish, but so be it. I’m too old to give a damn what you think of me type of thing. I write because I will not be told I can’t. I write because I want to be the best writer in the world. This will take some time, maybe 2 weeks. (I joke about the 2 weeks) I write because I want to, and I can. As I learn and grow, I want to write even more. Every rejection letter makes me want it even harder. Therefore, I write.
We can not blame the publishers for this writing game. Publishers are not bad people. It may feel like it as you have all this happening to you. But they are not these creatures with horns and a long pointy tail, smoking cigars in an expensively designed office, laughing at your work. They’re not gathering other creatures with horns and pointy tails to come laugh at your work. They are not laughing as they write that horrible rejection letter.
“We thank you for your effort, but really you suck, though we had a great laugh at your writing. Better luck next time.” -Fictitious rejection letter #1001
Publishers have thousands of papers fall on their desk. (I’m not talking about the creatures with horns and pointy tails, I’m now talking about actual human beings.) When the work day is done, they take a pile of those papers home and read while in bed, in front of the TV, or maybe while taking a bath. That’s my image of someone who is a publisher. Just a hard-working individual who obviously loves to read, a lot. They’re on the hunt for the next big league writer. Publishers, I believe genuinely want to find someone to publish. So, I am sorry, we can’t hate on the publishers.
So, what makes you write? Such a personal question I’m sure. For some it’s personal and private, others it’s a hobby. Some for delusions of grandeur. I really want to know.
Each time a writer creates, they’re sharing a piece of themselves. They exposed themselves to you the reader. You are given the opportunity to peek into the mind and spirit of that writer. Why do you expose yourself writing?