"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Do You Write?

I fell in love with writing at the age of ten when my cousin and I were playing school. I was the student and she was the teacher – that time. My writing assignment for her became the first of many. I was hooked, in love with the writing process.
I’ve written a lot of fiction and poetry, but (until recently and with the exception of one poem) I’ve only tried to publish my newspaper articles. I suppose in many ways my writing is a personal experience. I was writing for me, for my enjoyment, for my personal expression. Some of my pieces are similar to diary entries since they express emotions or circumstances I experienced at the time.
When asking others, I usually hear two answers to the question “Why do you write?” The “It’s-in-my-soul type” (which I have always been a part) claim they write to express themselves and enjoy the creative process. That’s honest and to-the-point. These writers can be happy journaling for themselves or just to share with friends.

The second group says “I want to be published or paid to write” (which I am now a part – I figure if I enjoy writing so much, why not get paid for it?). If this is you, it’s not that tough. Modern technology allows easy publication with blogs, websites, or self-publishing your books.
However, if you want a legitimate or well-known publisher to pick up your work, you may have to write about topics that bore you. I’ve done this before. Some will tell you it’s a sell out, but hey, it’s a paycheck and a credit on your resume’. Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll never make millions of dollars writing, but many can make a decent living doing so.
If money is more important to you than the byline or author credit, or if you are the shy writer who doesn’t want the attention, consider ghost writing. Many authors will actually pay you more than they get for the piece to write it for them. They do this because they don’t have time or the inclination to write the required pieces for their editor. The reason the author will offer to pay you more than they will get for the piece (and believe me, you will have to sign a confidentiality clause contract) is because they are protecting their name and credibility. You might be surprised how many “popular” authors today employ ghost writers.

During this time of making resolutions, I see many writers committing to write, submit or publish a specific amount of their work. They are so worried about the quantity, I wonder if they will lose quality and I can’t help but ask them “Why do you write?”


The Sisterhood said...

Hi Sylvia,

My answer is simple. I write because it's where I find the most fulfillment. It took me a while to figure it out as I had always worked in design/illustration/advertising and I always considered myself more of a visual artist. But when I started writing a novel a few years ago, I realized that was what I was meant to do. I am hoping that I don't have to write things that bore me in order to make money (right now I'm aiming at selling what I like to write.) We'll see how that works out.


L.A. Colvin said...

Hi Sylvia,

I didn't realize I wanted to write until last year. When I was a kid I would go around with my tape recorder (25+ yrs ago) and pretend I was a newspaper reporter. I always had a book in my hand and my most prized possesion was my entire collection of Nancy Drew. EVERY SINGLE ONE! As an adult I read voraciously but started to feel unfulfilled. Stories have always been a time of adventure and excitement. But nothing worked. I became tired or reading and it broke my heart. Everything I read I would start to rredo the story in my head to make it different. Then one day a lightbulb went off and I said "maybe I could learn how to do this" So I started down my path towards writerdom. I'm not sure I can even sell what I write so for now I'm writing for myself.

Happy Writing