Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why do I write? Why do you?

Writing isn't easy, not if a person puts forth the effort to write something that's well crafted, has meaning, and is without grammar, spelling, or sentence structure problems. A finished product is the result of hard work, if the truth be known.

So, why do people write? As one person in my writing group stated, "If there's a good chance that we'll never be published, or if we are, we'll never make any money, why do it? Why put ourselves through that much pain and work for nothing?"

I can't speak for anyone else, much less for everyone, but I know why I write: I have no choice. An idea, a plot, characters, lines of poetry, words, words, words take root and in my head, and I can't do anything else but write.

A tablet and pen lie beside my bed. I carry a small pad and pen in my purse. Why? Because words hit me during my sleep, when I'm traveling, when I'm waiting. The best way to keep them from haunting me and to keep from forgetting them is to write them.

Yes, I am obsessed with writing, if being obsessed means I have no control over writing or not writing. I have no choice but write.

Next question, why try to get those words published if I write because I have to write? Needing to write doesn't mean I must go through the ordeal of rejections and hopefully finding a home for those words. Perhaps publication is a form of vindication, a desire to share my thoughts, my ideas, my plots, my characters. Sometimes what I write may fill a need that others have, such as my juvenile books helping reluctant readers find books that they can and will read.

Yes, I have files full of material that hasn't been published, and which may never be read by anyone else. However, I also have had poetry, short stories, and articles published over a period of nearly forty years. More recently a few young adult novels and a mystery/suspense novel have seen publication.

Will I make money on my writing? Perhaps. I have made some with the poetry, articles, and short stories over the years, but not enough to worry about income taxes. My books may never make a profit (or enough royalty to mean I actually made more than a few cents an hour invested into writing them), but I did what I needed to do. Yes, I put many hours, effort, and funds into promotion, but I meet some really great people if nothing else.

Of course I want to have my books bring in money. I'm not without ambition. However, I'm willing to do the best to promote my books and see what happens. After all, my obsession has been met.

Why do you write?



Danielle Simone said...

Hi Vivian,

I enjoyed your post. I did an interview with my writing instructor. Asked why she wrote she responded; "I write because I breathe." That's what I hear above as well.

I write because I'm convinced there's a little gremlin in my heard that insists on being let loose several times a week. (I tolerate her!) Besides, she's a lot of fun when we walk together.

Feel free to drop by trailsofnature anytime.


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

Hi Vivian,

I just dropped by to let you know that I just finished reading Prairie Dog Cowboy and loved it. I hope there's a sequel. I already miss Buddy.

I love the children's books from 4RV. I especially love the way the stories and the art work together.


Rena said...

I've thought about this question a lot and often my reply is, "I'm not sure why I write." I know I want to share things with children. I live in an amazing part of the country, where wildlife is not only abundant, but it's often looking right inside my backdoor. I began writing for children after visiting Glacier National Park in MT. I often tell people a little white mountain goat named Manny was my inspiration to start writing for children. If I can share things like that with kids who might not be able to experience them, then that will make me very happy.

And Charlotte -- I miss Buddy too!

Vivian Zabel said...

Don't fret, Buddy shall return if I can finish Prairie Winds. He may even find some romance.