Why We Write

There are a lot of reasons to write. Most of us who spend any length of time learning the process, going through draft after draft, and ultimately turning out finished products dream of career success and recognition. Yeah, I want to sell a million books. I want a movie deal — not because I think the movie will add anything to the book (The book is my life’s work, not the movie!) but because Hollywood interest would mean I’d sold enough copies to claim a measure of success.

That’s the dream. My goal is to develop a following of dedicated readers who truly enjoy what I write. If I can count sales in the thousands of copies, I’m happy.

Most writers never even get that far. There are over a million books published each year — most self-published. Most books don’t even sell 100 copies.

So why are we doing this? Why do a million people put books out every year only to sell a handful of copies? And why do they do it again?

I hope it makes them happy.

There are some careers you get into for the money but writing isn’t one of them. I am amazed by how many people think, when I say that I’m a published writer, that I’m comfortably well off or moderately rich. Most think my books will be stocked at Target or Wal-Mart, as if the tiny book sections in either of these stores represents 1/100th of the books published through MAJOR publishing houses, let alone smaller presses.

The dream is fun. Dreaming is a big part of fiction writing, after all! I would never discourage such a practise. But if the dream is why you write you’re in for a world of disappointment. My suggestion: Go do what you love and dream of ultimate success in that area. Dream of being a rock star or a football star or a movie star or a high-powered lawyer or the best cardiologist in the country.

In the meantime, if you still want to write begin from the love of what you’re doing. Here are a few things to love about writing:

1. Research — Some people really enjoy the challenge of putting information together. If this is primarily what you love, nonfiction may be for you.

2.Story telling — If you love to tell a good story then enjoy writing fiction.

3. Using words to create beauty — This may mean you’re really a poet at heart, although some prose can be beautiful as well.

4. Leaving behind a legacy — There’s nothing wrong with telling your own story for no other purpose than to leave it for your children to read.

Whatever you love, find joy in the process of doing it. You can dream fantastic dreams while setting reasonable goals, but you’re going to spend too much time working toward that goal not to be in love with the moment of creation.

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  1. Beautiful post. I stumbled on your site from google plus and think it’s lovely. I look forward to learning more from you, as I’m just dipping my toes into the publishing world, even though I’ve been immersed in writing my whole life!

  2. The world of publishing adds a whole new dimension to the process. In some ways, it was more fun to write without the pressure, although it is thrilling to have people read and enjoy my books! Take care if you’re ready to get into publishing. You really can’t read too much about it before making decisions. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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