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Reasons to write or not


6th January 2016
Normally on the blog we try to leave it a few days or so before following up with another.  However it seems the ladies and I are on the same wavelength, keen to get it all happening but practical enough to know it won’t be the smooth sailing cliché we secretly hope it might be.  Kay in fact found some very interesting reading by a sci-fi author by the name of Robert Jackson Bennett (see his website below) on the subject.  I couldn’t resist also commenting on and sharing because like Cara he discusses the pitfalls but in a much more confronting way.  His views about writing as a career are pretty straight forward and a little dauntingly true.

Reading what he has to say rather than being off-putting is actually motivating. I honestly think knowing what you are up against is liberating once you process and place things in perspective.  Robert says that choosing writing as a career is not going to be you leaping on a stage with the audience in wonder. This is going to be you carefully building the audience and the stage over years, if not decades, and then, if you’re lucky, climbing on top.
If you are looking for a career in writing, you are not looking for that one big payday, because even if you do find it, it’s deeply unlikely that this will last you for the rest of your life. A bestseller, by itself, won’t be there when you’re fifty, or when your kids are off to college, unless it’s a mega huge super blockbuster bestseller – and if this is what you’re waiting on, then you are essentially playing the lottery for a career.”

What can I say to that? That I personally would prefer a more fantasy/fairy tale approach rather than the nitty gritty reality that choosing writing as a profession can mean? Alas, I am far too pragmatic to do that and have to admit that it’s true, everything he says is true.  But, but already we (the crazy people out there who write) are in it, drowning in words and ideas and walking away is not an option we want. I found what he discusses in his blog particularly interesting because he has just finished the third book in his series.  A series is a big commitment but it makes sense to take this path these days if you want to make any sort of a living. Having a continuous product to present to our readers is eminently sensible.  So much effort for possibly so very, very little return though is a little frightening in terms of just the time we spend on the keyboard! To be daunted or not, that is the question?
         So I took all the information on board.  You have to but rather than let it stop us I think we need to accept it and just get on with it.  I went back then to Cara Brookins but this time to look at the post she does on the wrong reasons to write a book because her humour and simple insightfulness make me laugh but at the same time make me think.  Perhaps it is because I work with children but I find that when we give them good reason, simple reasons to do new things and finish them, then we get results.  I think as adults we are not so different.

Both writers are in fact very encouraging and for those people out there like me, at the beginning of the writing journey, it is comforting that these people are willing to share their thoughts with us.  Not to deviate from the topic but the writing community is a generous one and this should be acknowledged because it is a big part of what keeps me going, and I don't think I am the only one to feel this way. It is a nice feeling to be in their company, even in a small way. Please don’t forget to check out their websites for more from them on this and a host of other fascinating subjects. Links are provided at the end of this post.

So just what are some reasons not to write? The first reason not to write is “Aunt Mabel said I should.” Cara says that humans “ have a long history of trying to live their unfulfilled dreams through offspring, neighbors, young children in the checkout line, really anyone who will listen to whatever comes after: “You should be a…”  Whilst no-one in my family, that is my parents or brother, aunts and uncles ever said that to me I can say a lot of other people (friends, teachers, colleagues) have told me I should put that (don’t ask me what that is) in writing.  I actually found this intimidating.  Although there were times I thought it was wonderful to have them believe I had the skill it made me afraid that I could not live up to their standards.  In the end however I did give in because of the voices in my head that wanted out and onto the page.  I had to obey.  In fact most authors I know feel the same.

The second reason is “revenge.”  Cara says that writing a book to expose the terrible thing someone did is rarely a good reason to pour ink on a page. “  I have to agree because revenge is never what we think it is.  Somehow I think it intensifies the hurt rather than making you feel better. To me it is sinking to that other level and the truth is the people generally that have hurt you in some way don’t understand any better anyway.  On the other hand writing about things can bring you a kind of peace, the peace that comes from getting a weight off your shoulders, at least I hope so.

The next reason is so out there that probably people actually do believe it – “it’s sexy”.  I had to laugh because there is nothing sexy about sitting at a computer for hours on end sometimes well into the night knowing fame and fortune are fickle.  Then there is the next reason which is just as attractive to the dreamer in us – “world peace.”  I wish it was that easy. I have to agree with Cara who says change “happens with a slow trickle over many years and many books by many authors “  and even then the small good it does can be overridden by other events because humans forget so easily.

          There are of course other reasons that are discussed but by now I think you might have gathered the gist of things.   If you want to write and decide to do it then do it right by accepting it as a need you have to express yourself.  See that need for what it is – hard work vital to your being.  Yes there may be rainbows at the end and who knows there may even be money (not pots of it maybe) but I see it pretty much as a job and unless you love it then no amount of money or kudos will ever be enough.  If you do it for the love of it then the rewards along the way (meeting like minded people) may compensate for the smaller size of the rainbow.

Strange isn’t it that at the end of the day writing is a job like any other requiring dedication and a desire to succeed but most of all a commitment of your emotions.  Just as well I accept that or I wouldn’t be here typing right this minute.

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Until next time


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