Would you keep writing?

I’ve attended the monthly meetings of a local writer’s group several times now, and in listening and conversing with the good folks there, it became obvious that a number of them really don’t want to be writers, they want to be published authors. No offense, but it really sounds like they want to see their name on a book on a shelf in a store or online. They want folks to recognize them, inquire after their health and families, discuss their ideas, get three-book deals and talk show interviews. Now most of them seem intelligent, sincere, sweet, but a large percentage of the ones I’ve met don’t actually write anything. They talk about it, think about it, read about it, fantasize about it, but fall short of putting words to the page.

See, I figure you’re a writer if you write.

Don’t get me wrong – I want all that stuff too. And I know about writer’s block, busy schedules, life’s demands, research, and inspiration/imagination, but at some point I can’t call myself a writer if I don’t increase my page count each month.

In the face of all the contradictions, distractions, and demands, I ask myself if this urge, this call, to write is legitimate enough to pursue. Is the story important enough to tell? Is wrestling with words and ideas is worthy of my time and attention? I mean there’s no shortage of other things to do, and there’s tons of other ways to try and get money. All I write is SpecFiction anyway, and what with the recreational pharmaceutical trade on my street getting brisk again, I wonder if it isn’t really the same thing on some level.

If you knew you’d never get a book contract, movie rights and critical acclaim, would you keep writing?

5 Replies to “Would you keep writing?”

  1. Well, I have a blog about writing–sometimes–with no examples of my writing (fiction). That’s because I remember from my publishing days all the legal snafus we had trying to tie down something for publication that had already been published elsewhere. Publishing something on the web counts as “elsewhere” so, in hopes that my work is finished and publishable I just figure it’s best to not put any up on my blog.

    Aside from that, my blog is meant to be a non-fiction writing space. I write about writing fiction from time to time, but I also write about the other facets of my life, including religion, family, health, tv shows I watch, books I read or don’t finish reading etc.

    But yes. I have noticed a surfeit of people who want to Dan Brown. In short they want the name recognition but want someone else to do all the work. (Yes, I fully believe Mrs. Dan Brown writes the bulk of his novels.)

  2. I don’t know. I’m so tired that I want to live my life rather than filtering it through computer and book experiences. I don’t have the energy to do both, it seems.

    1. I hear you. But it’s worth pushing through, ’cause anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first. I’ll pray for you though.

      I read somewhere that 5% of America does the dreaming for the other 95%. Question I ask myself is which percentage do I want to be in?

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