April 25, 2010 by Renee
So, I’m just going to throw something out there for you to chew on, savor, spit back out if you want to and see what happens. It’s something that’s been bothering me for a while, a little thing that makes me want to shake people silly. A claim made by many authors seeking publication that I don’t buy for a second in most cases. Actually, it’s a couple of claims.
What the heck am I talking about? I’ll tell you, of course. I read a lot of blogs by agents, publishers and authors. Nearly every one at some point asks the question, “Why do you write?” Some of them elaborate on this question asking if we write to publish, to be famous, to make money, etc. Now it’s not the question that bothers me, it’s an awesome question. No, it’s the answers.
Not once (except for my answers) in all of these blogs do I see an author answering yes to any of these questions. If they do, there is a qualifier like. ‘because it seems logical’ or ‘but I don’t care if it happens’. Seriously? Who are we fooling but ourselves with those answers? Cue the angry hoard now…good, looks like you’ve got yourselves properly riled up and indignant. Have some brownies while I explain.
Now, I agree that few of us begin writing for the sole purpose of publishing. We begin because we enjoy it; soon it becomes almost obsessive and eventually we cannot imagine doing anything else. But to be actively seeking an agent or a publisher and claim that you are not writing for publication? To spend every spare moment learning, creating and developing your platform and spend hours on one page that no one will see? To put all of that work into learning and growing as a writer, to complete your manuscript, polishing it until it shines, and to go through the horror that is writing a query letter and going through the query process, and NOT do it in order to publish?? Why else would you do it? And if one of you tells me it’s for the love of writing I will shake you. I will.
I’ll be honest. I’m a poor liar anyway, even to myself.
Why do I write? Because I love it. I couldn’t stop even with a twelve step program.
Do I write to publish? It would make sense that after the work I put into my novels I’d seek publication. Why wouldn’t I? The only thing better than writing is someone reading my writing. Do I write with the thought of publication in mind? No, but I edit with that thought.
Do I write to be famous? Let’s think about that. No, I don’t write to be famous. The likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. But do I want to be famous? Hmm. Let’s lay out the facts for this answer:
Fame = visibility
Visibility = readers knowing my name
Readers knowing my name = sales
Sales = the freedom to write more. (and possibly a cabana boy, but that’s totally a bonus)
Answer: Yes, I would welcome a little bit of fame.
I started writing because I love it. I can’t imagine not writing. I will continue writing whether I publish or not, but I will never stop trying to get my work published. Why? Because I’m stubborn, because I refuse to admit defeat, and because I know my writing is good enough.
So, I’ll ask all of you again and I want to remind you that it doesn’t make us less of a writer to admit we have goals, ambition and a desire to turn our passion into a career. That makes us smart.
Do you write to publish, to be famous, or because you enjoy it when your eyes bleed and your soul shatters every time you hit a wall?
How about all of the above?