Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Do We Write?

Through some talk on the TARA loop, my local chapter, I started seriously thinking about this question. Only the question was actually Why do I write? The more I thought about the question, I realized some of you may wonder the same thing. Although I can’t answer that question for you here’s a bit about me and why I write.

I first started writing because I had to get the words out. I’d read Trixie Bleden or Nancy Drew and wanted to be just like them. One day I decided I could do that and so I wrote my own stories where I solved mysteries, sometimes being a part of a club and other times not. I guess I sort of blended the two together.

Just a small side note here, even at that early age I never once copied anything from any of their books. At that time no one had told me what plagiarism was yet still deep down I knew words were/are a precious thing and once someone wrote them in a book I could not use them the same exact way. Besides, I wanted to tell my stories not anyone else’s.

Flash forward: I’d written a couple of manuscripts, which now reside eternally with the dust bunnies, but never pursued it further. I joined my local chapter, TARA and RWA several years ago because I wanted to be among other writers. I didn’t know at the time I needed to learn more of the craft. I mean, I could write a story. Right? I knew all about the H/H meeting and falling in love and the conflicts that must arise until they could have the HEA.

The business side of writing? Not so much. I thought okay, write the book, send it off, and much like Emeril, Bam…in no time at all I’d see it sitting there on the shelf. In all it’s glory. You know, with the heavenly lights shinning down on it. Of course, it’s sell well. Of course, it’d would need to be reprinted. And yes, in many languages. After all everyone who knew me and loved me had read my work and they said the same thing. So it must be true. Right?

Okay, so the first thing I learned was I knew nothing about the business. Who knew that once the book was contracted it could take up to year to hit the shelves? Oh yeah, and that eternal heavenly light? Nothing more than a spotlight that only on rare occasions comes out to shine upon an author. The thing is I still want to write even after learned the difference. Even after I learned that unless you are our beloved Nora Robert’s you can’t really head-hop. I love to do this. Just ask my CP, she’ll tell you.

Which brings me to rules. Ugh! There are rules in this business of writing? But it’s my book. Why must I learn the rules? Answer: It makes you/me a better writer. Can the rules be broken? Oh yeah. You can’t break them though until you learn them well. Until they become second nature to you. Then and only then, when you know them can you learn how to break them correctly to work in your story.

It’s hard. No one ever said this would be an easy job. There is no magical wand to sprinkle the words onto the computer screen. We have to sit in the chair, put our hands on the keyboard, and type. And yes, even thought it’s our passion it’s also our job. We must take it serious in order for that to be the case. I know that life gets in the way. Okay, so take a PTO day from your writing when you have too.

There are days when all of us think “Can we really do this?” or “Why did we decide we could write?” Then I read on blogs of well-known, published many times over, authors who say the same thing. They say this now, not back in the day before they were published.

What I do know is yes, I can do this, and you can do this, if we’re willing to give it what it deserves.

Each of us has to decide what our career path is in this business. If our path is only filled with publication dreams then the road is rocky and it’s painful most times. Although we meet some wonderful agents and editors at conferences we also have to remember when they see that requested manuscript they many not want it. They may not even like it. Or it may just not work for their house. We have to be willing to let it go and move on.

For me, yes, I do want to be published. I do want to see my baby-sitting on the shelf. This is the job that I want with all my heart and soul. I work everyday on my current wip. I want to see my dream come to fruition and writing it is the only way to make that happen. But, there is one thing that I know. I have to write regardless of how long or how short the journey is, I must write. That is foremost in this passage. My characters want their story told. My muse wants me in the chair.

Therefore, I’m willing to give up time in the evenings when I’d like to watch TV. I’ll tape it and watch it later when I’ve reached a goal. I’ll take the time to do what my hearts desire is, not make the time. Take the time.

Beside, if you check out the stories behind stories of authors we love like, Sherrily Kenyon, JR Ward’s,and J K Rowling to name a few, you'll find their beginning journey was much like your own. They write because they must.

So what about you? Why do you write? Is it only to see your name on the shelf? Would you write regardless of publication? Does it burn in your soul? Do you wake up everyday with your wip in your mind and what’s coming next?

Writing Wishes and Plotting Dreams,


Patricia W. said...

Everyday I learn how much more I need to learn about the craft and business of writing. Yet, I write.

Books have been my life, first as a reader and when I had dreams (pre-Amazon, pre-Borders) of being a bookseller, only to have a teacher tell me that my Borders-like idea would never work. Go figure!

But it wasn't until I was pregnant with my first baby that I felt the first true burning to tell a story from within. That was 12 years ago ('cuz soemtimes I'm alternately hard-headed and hesitant when God tells me to do something).

I'm writing now. And learning. And hoping. Because, yes, I do want to see a book in a bookstore with my name on the cover. But I also want to tell my stories.

Ava Rose Johnson said...

Ack, those damn rules! I have problems with POV too.

I did my blogging tip, thanks for thinking of me:)

Julie S said...

Great post Vicki...it's funny b/c growing up I wanted to be a writer, but then I had to go to college, get a job and all that crap so I lots sight of it.

I started writing again a couple of years ago as an escape from a very stressful job. And I haven't stopped. Nor have I wanted to stop, despite the difficulties and the challenges. It's pretty cool, actually, that at this stage in my life I'm willing to challenge myself!