Why do you write?
There are many reasons to want to write but for me, but making a fortune, achieving fame, being awarded glittering prizes or even just being recognised as a half decent author are not. In fact, and you can believe it or not, I’m not even that concerned about book sales. I write because I want to and find immense pleasure in taking the weird, whacky, happy and sad thoughts from my mind and setting them down in a text.
In fact, and you can believe it or not, I’m not even that concerned about book sales. I write because I want to, and find immense pleasure in taking the weird, whacky, happy and sad thoughts from my mind and setting them down in a text. If someone actually likes it, that’s great. And if they don’t, well there are always other books to read.
Now, this is not to say that I’m not pleased when my books or ebooks sell, the contrary in fact, but it’s not the main aim in my mind. As an author who has been self-publishing for a very long time – from way back in the days long before ebooks and social media were words that had even been invented – I have always had the motivation to write because it’s personally rewarding and a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I make this point because I see so many authors now entering the self-publishing scene that seem driven by the strangest of motivations. Greed being one obvious one and I really have news for these people. Go rob a bank. It’s a much faster way to make a buck than spending all that time writing, re-writing, editing, proofreading, re-reading and then working on all the time-consuming marketing needed in trying to sell a million.
The other new entrants are the competitive authors, who seem to think that criticising other authors is the way to attract attention and rise to the top. Well, here again, I have news for these people. It’s an utter waste of time and a great way to make yourself look like a real jerk. Writing is and always has been a non-competitive business, so if you feel the need to be competitive and ‘slag off’ your fellow writers, go into a real business like bidding for government contracts and have fun in the dog eat dog world of real competitive commerce.
Then there are the nouveau experts. This is a new breed that I’m just coming to grips with. These are the authors, editors, proofreaders and small publishers who have been in the self-publishing business for a few weeks and think they know absolutely everything about anything there is to know about everything and are willing to share (read perhaps shove down your throat) their recently acquired knowledge with everyone and anyone. Some even have the audacity to want to charge you for the privilege. Nice work if you can get it.
I write because I’m a writer and I don’t need to waste my time arguing my case on forums populated by latter-day know it alls or posting a minute by minute update of the progress of my WIP on Facebook. I don’t even feel the need to tell Twitter what my current writing project is about. And who on Google+ would be interested anyway?
No, I don’t need to do anything except write. But yes, when it’s time for me to self-publish a new book in ebook and paperback, I’ll make a little noise about it, but in the end, I’m sure interested readers will find it by themselves when they’re ready anyway.
17 thoughts on “I Write, Because I Want To”
Thanks Derek, this has inspired me to write this morning.
It is a bizarre concept; writing for profit, fame or some of the other twisted reasons people do it these days. I wonder what those whose motivation is such were like as children? What were their aspirations, their dreams? What couldn’t they wait to get up in the morning to do?
I began writing at an early age just for myself. I’m talking diaries that I still have and no one has ever read! As an adult, I have, of course, written as part of my job at the time or assignments in school, but, I have for the most part used these as a challenge, etc. delving into them with a curious enthusiasm.
As an Art Photographer, my experience has been quite different. I pretty much loath being told what to photograph and with a few exceptions, generally find it quite difficult to use it as a growing activity!
Thanks for your comment Anne. I suppose I could equate writing with music, and as I’ve been playing guitar since I was seven or eight, I of course had my dreams of fame when I was a teenager. I also dabbled in photography for a number of years in my late teens and early twenties and wanted to be a glamour photographer!
It’s all normal I think. But usually we start to understand reality and that the chances of fame are extremely slim in all artistic pursuits. But I suppose the new ebook craze gives hope to those with dreams of fame and fortune. But the odds are pretty much still the same. :)
Like you my friend I write for my own pleasure. If others enjoy the end result, that is a plus. If they don’t, well that’s fine too. :D
You know Jack, I’ve never hear anyone say that they enjoy reading their own books. I do, and I’m sure you do too. Isn’t that a rewarding pleasure in itself?
Good point Derek, I, for one, love to read my writing and it does indeed give me rewarding pleasure!
I also love to look at my photographs… ~A.
Thanks for the pep talk.
I’m a poet so the idea of getting rich and jetting off to Ibiza has never been my main concern. I’m working on my first novel and would like to see it in print eventually, but doubt I’ll be able to afford to self-publish (i.e. broke as a beggar) so I’ve been studying the publishing industry and looking into all of the advise splattered across the web for writers, hoping to be able to attract a traditional publisher.
There’s so much contradictory advise out there it’s made me neurotic! I want to be the best I can but I find that I’m second guessing myself trying to conform to the standards I’ve been studying.
I’m taking your advise. I’m going to chuck it all and just write! If it sells, great! If not, I can afford to run off a few copies at Kinko’s to circulate among family and friends
Even on a ‘broke as a beggar’ budget Lawrence, self publishing won’t break the bank. There’s plenty of advice around on how to do it, but I would suggest looking at Createspace for paperback. It’s really inexpensive to have some well produced copies, plus your book will be available on Amazon. Quite honestly, your could budget less that $100 all up including 10 copies for yourself. And of course, publishing on Amazon Kindle is free.
Thanks, Derek. I’ll have to look in to that. Createspace is one I haven’t heard of.
Thank you, too, Tracey!
Lawrence, you’re talking about vanity publishing, self-publishing usually offers print on demand and you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) pay out a huge sum up front. Good luck!
I don’t think that many writers have a choice when it comes to writing. The idea that someone is doing it purely for profit is pretty alien to me. I’ve always written, since I was a child, and have only recently (in the last couple of years) tried to do anything with what I’ve written. I write for lots of reasons, to de- stress and for pleasure but mainly I write because the words are in there and if I don’t let them out they’d drive me mad (more mad). And I write the kind of thing that I want to read, don’t we all? Even subconsciously? Why would you write something you wouldn’t want to read yourself?
I’ve learnt to ignore any so-called experts, none of the succesful authors seem to do that, they just get on with it and write, I ignore the ‘I’ve written 55 billion words today’ people too. I don’t care, nobody cares. The internet has given a lot of people an over inflated sense of their own importance.
Now then Derek, this glamour photography thing. I read that as glamour model at first. Ah, the images that conjured up :)
Well Tracy, now that you have the glamour adjective and noun correctly colocated, why not pop your hair up and I’ll be over in mo’ to take some snaps of you for the cover of Vogue! :)
Ok, but be quick, this is summer in the UK, I’ll need my thermals back on again soon :)
Nice piece Derek, while my first goal with writing is to created disturbing horror stories that may even give a nightmare or two, it would be nice to make some money to further my writing. I feel that if one writes enough material two things will happen. First, they will become a better writer and secondly, one of their books will eventually click with readers and take off bringing the others with it. So one may write for a very long time with very limited returns and then have the floodgate of sales open. I am not so much into fame as I am into making a living as an author in the genre of my choice. One can only feel they are a good writer when their books are read and sold. Until that point I feel we are all just aspirants, wanting to be writers but not quite having made it yet.
Well said, that man.
I’ll take it further.
Much to my publisher’s everlasting anguish, I even resent the need to sell myself.
I wrote my single little book (certainly not as prolific as you!) and I write my modest little blog because it’s cathartic so to do, and also because I am imparting information to my dearest about my life away from them.
I don’t write for the world, although like you I’m always gratified to sell a book and to be reviewed.
But the social networking that appears to be obligatory to authors leaves me cold and I only do the bare minimum for said publisher´s sake – and that reluctantly.
I write because I have to. It’s the best way I have ever known of expressing myself.
The written word is a powerful thing. With a pen and paper and (M.Word ) I have traveled through many worlds especially when I write my short stories. It’s like entering a new secret world or something like that. Writing is a natural high for me. The way words flow from me is just amazing…am not sure where there come from. Well, maybe I do but that’s the beauty of writing.
Sometimes, I write and cry, get so attached to my characters..that’s a sign that I maybe moving into my alternative world. A gentle reminder to come back to my reality, yet am so eager to go back to that world full of possibilities.
When I write…am my most authentic self..I get the same feeling when I read. Especially writings that are written from the heart like yours Derek.
Wow, when I write, I do run away with my emotions like now lol Thank you for writing this wonderful post…something every writer should read.
Well spoken. Putting one’s ideas and opinions in writing should be reward enough. Having others read your thoughts and opinions is icing on the cake.
Exactly! Writing help to us express our selves, our thoughts to everyone, especially to those people who are who can’t express their feelings through verbal but can express through writing. :)
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