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?