What makes you want to write?
This morning, the Ripl app, which I use for little videos for Instagram and Twitter, offered a Monday Motivation prompt, something it does each week. When I loaded it, however, and went to edit the Mark Twain quote it gave as a default, I didn’t write something motivational. I was feeling fairly motivated myself so I could have attempted it, but the words didn’t end up being that. Instead, I asked a question.
I said, “I write because the words would fill me up and dribble out of my nose. How about you?”
The reason for this? I saw a tweet.
I forget who it was from, but it was in response to another that spoke about how difficult it is to get published.
It’s time consuming.
You run the very real risk of getting hundreds of rejection letters or emails before you get ‘the one.’ You run the very real risk of never getting ‘the one.’ The person who wrote the tweet I’m referring to said that they were thinking about giving up writing if the chance was that they’d never be published.
It’s a difficult one.
I’m sure that some of the greatest writers only started because they wanted to have a book published, or wanted to become famous. The problem is, particularly nowadays when it’s so easy to have your work online, it’s not a guarantee. It’s not a case of, you’ve written a book so you’ll soon be able to walk into your local bookshop and see it on the shelf.
I’m not saying that can’t or won’t happen. Congratulations if it does! I’m simply saying, from my point of view, you need more reasons than just this for writing a book, or anything, in the first place. What if you never got any further than having the file on your PC, read by no-one other than yourself and your mother or spouse? Would that make you a failure?
No. No it wouldn’t.
You’d still have written the book. You’d still have worked hard and, perhaps, laid yourself bare in the creation of the characters and how much of yourself you’d instilled in them.
Well done! Most people never get that far.
You could self-publish to Amazon. You could post to sites like Wattpad. I’ve done both and have had some success. But, if I’d done neither, I would still have been happy.
Personally, I didn’t start writing because I wanted to be famous. I didn’t start because I thought it would make me a millionaire like J.K. Rowling. I started writing because I had to. I had all the voices of the characters whirling in my head. I would look at something, watch a TV show or hear a song and all these strange ideas would fill my head. What if he did that? What if they went there?
I write because I can’t help myself. Over the years, when others have tried to put me down or tell me I’m wasting my time, I’ve come close to stopping. I’ve been self-conscious or felt foolish. I have thought there was no point. But then somebody says something. Then the lyrics of a song that’s playing in the background drift to the foreground. Then someone comes into my office who’s just crying out to enter Sin’s asylum!
If you do write purely because you think it’s easy money or you’ll be known worldwide, I hope it works out for you. Though you may need to reconsider the ‘easy’ part…
If you write because, like me, the words would fill you up and then make a mess around you unless you did what you just have to do and get them on the page, then I happen to think your journey will be more fulfilling. Your voice will come across with more authenticity.
For me, writing has given me so many wonderful friends across the globe. These are people I speak to every day or multiple times a month or once every few months. Either way, we share a love for the written word. Writing has enabled me to achieve things I had only dreamed of. It has been therapy for me, too.
So. Why do you write?