Hey C.N. crew! I was thinking of starting up a new series here for everyone to enjoy during the weekends. Inspired by the NY Times, The Weekender is a series where I want to talk more in-depth or critically about writing, reading, current events that are writing related, etc. I hope that by posting a critical piece, it will not only be a good read but also be a post that will inspire you guys to post your thoughts and reactions. Additionally, I hope to invite guest bloggers to come over and participate. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to e-mail me or comment and we’ll go from there. I plan on posting The Weekender on Friday afternoons and have it encompass Copious Notes for three days. As for now, I hope you all enjoy this new series. Your feedback is always appreciated and encouraged.
“The writer’s duty is to keep on writing.” -William Styron
I think Styron was onto something when he wrote this. I wonder at times why we do what we do. Why do writers write? I’ve been trying to answer this question for months and I suspect that I am far from alone in this quest for answers. At times, at least for me, the drive is motivated by different things. Sometimes I can envision my work on the bookshelf at a store and it’s as clear as a picture in front of my face. At other times, the ideas and characters are screaming to get out of my brain and onto a piece of paper. Finally, yes sometimes I do think about the financial aspects to possibly not having a day-job and getting to realistically live with my craft as my income.
I think that secretly everyone wants to be famous. Everyone follows celebrities so closely and in my opinion it’s due to living vicariously through them. We want to have that Mercedes and the large house in L.A. We want to go out and be recognized. Personally, I think being an author is the best of both worlds because we get the money and the name out there, but we can still safely go out to the supermarket and not get mobbed. For me, that could be ideal.
Why do I write? I write because I have a desire to express myself creatively and the hopes that someone would actually pay money to have it. I have a drive to get my ideas out there and have them validated. We all want to be told we’re good at something. If it’s something we can create from nothing, I think that is a bigger validation than just doing good at the day-job. I also write because I know I can write better than the average person. I am not saying this to sound conceited but I do believe that my skill in writing is a cut above the rest. I believe that most of you Copious Notes readers on on-par with me or even better. I also believe you would agree that you can write better than the average person and you have a skill that most do not.
We all have drive and desire. One interesting thing that I think about is would my hand get really tired if I was conducting a book signing? Do people who autograph things use their actual signature or do they have an ‘autograph signature’? Odd things like this permeate my brain at times and I do laugh when I think of them because they are so odd. Being notable is nice but I think the fact that legitimate success is achievable by doing what we do is the ultimate goal. Again, it’s taking nothing and making it into something special and amazing.
I often think of Dan Brown sitting at a desk with a blank Word document in front of him. At some point in his life, he was just another guy surfing the ‘net and maybe even reading the AW forums to be involved. That blank document would become the Da Vinci Code and I have amazement that his great books at one point were just Word files on his computer that no one but him saw and it lived & died on this computer’s health. Did he ever lose part of his story? Did he know what he was writing would bring him lots of success?
I write because I want many things, but I also want self-satisfaction. To say that I have written a novel gives me great pride and I know this is something that most people only say they’re going to do and never do it. I’ve done it and I’m already working on the next. These accomplishments make me feel good and I hope that I can one day share them with the world.
So you tell me….. why do *you* write?
“I think that secretly everyone wants to be famous.’
I can honestly say that I don’t. This is proven by the fact that I turn down TV interviews just about every month.
“Do people who autograph things use their actual signature or do they have an ‘autograph signature’?”
I use my own signature…which has always looked like an autograph sig.
I agree the potential monetary benefits are exciting but, realistically, I know I shouldn’t count on becoming the next Nicholas Sparks (or whomever) and pulling in the money he does. So that drive isn’t the overwhelming one for me. The one that is? The recognition. The idea that people will read and love my work, and want me to write more. That people will support my style and characters, and enjoy the stories I create for them. I love that idea. 🙂
Because I must.
I started writing in junior high and the encouragement of my friends who wanted to read more was my first clue that this was something I was “good” at. As an adult, my mom and a few key people encouraged me and when we moved to Mexico I suddenly had time. I thought this was as good a time as any to see what I could do – if I actually had an entire novel inside me – and that past encouragement has kept me going.
I don’t necessarily want to be famous – that’s not what pushes me – but I agree with you point about validation. It’s nice to hear that people like what you have to say. 🙂
I write because I love writing, and I love having written, as the saying goes. I get stories and they bubble around in my head until I type them out. I also love the feeling I get when I’m so caught up in a story that the excitement makes me physically sick, but in a good way. I write because when I don’t, I feel unfulfilled and depressed, and a little meaningless. I think writing is my passion. I’m just lucky to have figured it out so early on. Also, I write because yes, I do think I have a moderate amount of ability, and because people seem to like my stuff.
I think the main answer is “it makes me happy.”
I like the idea for your new series, btw 🙂
Auria- Glad to know the autograph info! Also interesting about the opportunities that come your way, that you say no to!
Janna- I agree that we won’t pull in the type of money that ultra-famous authors do, but I think it’s something strive for. As for the recognition, I couldn’t agree more!
Angie- Welcome to Copious Notes! I hope you enjoy your stay. Great reason!
Melanie- It’s great to know you had encouragement from all angles. That can make a huge difference.
A- Passion is key. Don’t ever lose that. Glad you enjoy the new segment.