I’ve realized that I never explained why I write. I’ve mentioned my love for stories and that I write because I love stories and not the other way around. But I’ve never told you wonderful people why I do it.
It’s not because I like Telling People
If you’ve met me in public you’d probably have no idea that I write. It’s not something I like to talk about with people. I’d much rather hear their story, I already know mine.
It’s just awkward to tell people something that feels so personal. And people usually make it even more uncomfortable.
I’ve encountered multiple different reactions but I can boil them down to five kinds of people. The Disbelievers, The Suggest-ers, the Critics, the Disinterested, and the Encouragers.
These are the people who just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that anyone would bother writing a book, let alone try to get it published. They’ll give you a confused look and say some variation on, “Oh why?” Or “I haven’t read much since high school”
They are generally nice but will classify you as odd and probably avoid you or try to forget about your weirdness.
I suggest leaving these folks alone or changing the topic to Game of Thrones.
“Vampire books are really in right now.” Or “Have you considered self-publishing that’s where the money is.”
These are my second favourite type of people. They are generally well meaning and trying their best to help you out. They’ll tell you everything they know or read somewhere on facebook. They’ll offer to help and talk to their third cousin’s neice’s ex-fiancé for you.
The major downside is if they try to tell you about their novel idea that they think you’d be better at writing.
The best way to deal with them is know that they’re trying to be supportive. Try changing the topic to what they like to read.
They just met you and really don’t care about your writing but they will tell you how horrible the state of fiction is right now. Nothing but crap and magical-teens. They’ll complain about everything.
If you’re really unlucky, you’ll get those who will criticise the industry as a whole and tell you that you’ll never be published because of such a reason etc.
It’s best to smile and nod until they get it out of their system, then go find someone to give you a hug.
These are the people who ask you what your passions are only so they can tell you about theirs.
They are more interested in telling you about their book/idea/life than hearing anything about you. Heck once they’ve started talking, they might not notice you leaving.
Again it’s best to smile and nod, then find someone else to talk with.
These are people who will want to hear about what you’re saying, about your story, and about your life. They’ll let you talk and they’ll comment in the right places.
They will freak you out completely. They are the ones that will understand your pain when you get a rejection letter and not go, “Well Tolkien submitted LoTR blah times before…” They’ll know to give you a hug.
If you find them, treat them well, you’ve just met a rare specimen.
I don’t do it for the Money or Fame
Let’s be clear, the amount of people who make enough money to quit their jobs are the minority. If you think you should start writing because it’s an easy way to make cash, you’re going to be severely disappointed.
It takes years of practice, and years of patience to get enough money to cover your own costs. Brandon Sanderson said that it was bitter sweet to be nominated by the Hugo awards for “Best New Author” since he’d been writing, and trying to publish, for over a decade.
As for fame, if I’m never recognised in public, that’s ok with me.
The Real Reason I Write
I enjoy it.
Yes it’s that simple. I enjoy it.
Do I want to make a living with it? Absolutely, if you found something that you loved doing, wouldn’t you?
Will I stop because of my annoyance and dislike in the publishing industry? No.
I plan on writing as long as I enjoy it. Seeing as I’ve enjoyed it for most of my life I doubt it’ll change.
What’s your passion? Are you trying to turn it into a career?