Why do you want to be a writer?

“Why do you want to be a writer?” If somebody answers “To make a lot of money!”, tell them to slam on the brakes and put it in reverse. They passed their exit.

For every Stephen King, James Patterson, John Grisham or Jodi Picoult, Danielle Steele, and Faye Kellerman, there are countless housewives and students and businessmen and mechanics and hair stylists plugging away at their Typewriters, word Processors, PCs or laptops hoping to be the next #1 on the New York times Bestseller List, followed by a sale to a Hollywood producer with a star-studded walk down a Red Carpet.

The submissions and rejections; the time spent in-between the “important things” of the “Real World”; the uncertainty of talent or direction or procedure or protocol; the expenditure of money for printing and postage—they can never be added up cumulatively without realizing what a depressing idea it is to become a writer. If you just think one day at a time, then maybe the depression won’t set in for years.

All right, we’ve decided you’re not doing it for the money. Certainly not immediately, anyway. And you’re using up a lot of your free time, maybe getting just a little less sleep and sacrificing something special to buy that would make you feel good because you have to purchase more printer paper. And your life as you know it during these travails is not as exhilarating or fulfilling as you want it to be.

We go back to the original question: Why do you want to be a writer?

Maybe it’s the idea of Creation. A world of your own imagination populated with people you have brought into that world, intending to have them live in one way while they become fuller and determine to live in a completely opposite direction. It’s like parenting; you do your best with your children (characters) until they develop a mind of their own.

Maybe it’s the idea of Purging. It’s a lot more fulfilling to act out in a fictional way the things that you could never do or would never do. My novel Weekend Getaways or Adventures in Contract Killing is just that. it is a fantasy noir in which a basic standard unnamed middle aged man finds that his life is boring and meaningless until he meets an older gentleman who introduces him to the world of contract killing. Ah, the freedom I experienced myself.

There are thousands of reasons for becoming a writer. As many reasons as there are writers. We can all share the feelings involved with the process. There is thought and deliberation and frustration and contemplation and, just perhaps, resolution. The business side is more filled with terror because as a minor annoyance in the world of publishing, you are not in control. You have to sell yourself in a way that might make you feel uncomfortable.

The one thing that I do know is that once the fever has taken you over it is imperative that you continue and proceed until the end. Whatever end that may be. To deny the impulse is in essence to deny who you really are.

Keep at it.

H.B.

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4 Comments

  1. jenniferneri said,

    May 27, 2009 at 2:49 am

    “To deny the impulse is in essence to deny who you really are.”

    You got it!

    My way of writing is backwards for many others, but for me writing is a lot like reading. I get to know the characters as I go, and I also get to find out the exciting things that happen to them. Writing brings me into a new world where I meet new people. I have no outline, only a general idea of where I am going when i begin a new story. And most of the time, I feel as though the story has a life of its own, as cliche as that may sound.

    Like

    • tikiman1962 said,

      May 27, 2009 at 2:54 am

      Are you familiar with NaNoWriMo? If you are, great. if not—to whit–it is an online, worldwide literary event in which the sole goal is to complete a 50,000 word novel within the month of November. Talk about a challenge. At the end, if you succeed, you wind up with a pile of dung which you can then form into some semblance of a rational thought provoking story.
      It DOES force the issue of writing because you have to without the luxury of pretense. Two of the novels that i have written since 2007 have evolved from this venue.
      Your recent entry about literary agent rejections is touching and yet hopeful at the same time.
      Continue to smile.
      Continue to write.

      Like

      • jenniferneri said,

        May 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm

        I just googled NaNoWriMo – interesting – thanks!
        How many hours did you have to plug away in that month?
        My first novel (the one I am querying now) took a year to do the first draft (I wrote about 45 minutes to one hour almost every day when my first baby slept for his afternoon nap) and many many more to edit/re-write. I have been at my second novel for a few months now, and about 1/3 of the way through first draft. Time seems to be issue with me – the lack of writing time…

        I enjoy your posts, and look forward to more of them.

        Like

      • tikiman1962 said,

        May 28, 2009 at 12:51 am

        Thank you for your graciousness. As for number of hours or minutes, time passes and who can rmember. However, I made it a point to write every day in November after dinner or, if there were something special planned for the evening, I would get up earlier each morning. The issue with NaNoWriMo was word count, pure and simple. The first one I successfully completed in November of 2007 and didn’t even so much as read it again until the following February. As for drafts, I press on into the third or fourth but I’ve learned not to rewrite on my own ad infinitum ad nauseum until I get it “just perfect”. I figure an agent or an editor (none of which I am am associated with presently) will have their own perspective.

        Like


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