Monday, March 3, 2014

Why do you write? by Linda S. Glaz

So why do you write?
I wanna be so famous that one day I'll be walking the red carpet with Brad and Angie. 
I wanna make a ton of money, enough to buy the biggest house you've ever seem.        
I wanna be so well known, I'll need sunglasses just to go shopping for groceries.         
I wanna win a Pulitzer.

Do you hear those buzzers? Annnnggghhhh!

People have a great many reasons why they write. The fame, the money, the name-dropping, the national...local...organizational awards. Maybe a sacrificial reason. "My husband lost his job and I'm trying to help support the family." There are as many reasons as there are writers, but are the reasons realistic? Will they help you to move forward in a positive direction?

As with any career, there have to be realistic expectations. Let's look at some.

Attorney: Usually Masters minimum, many jobs require doctorate
Cardiologist: Bachelor’s, med school, 2-6 year residency and more
CPA: Bachelors degree plus 150 hours emphasis on accounting, each state is different

States vary on many of these, but the fact of the matter is, you don't get sumpthin' for nuthin'! So why do writers think they should get a pass? It isn't a matter of saying to a friend one day, "I think I'll write a novel. I have a lot of ideas. So why not, right? Cool!"

Probably a lot of writers started that way only to discover there was much more to it. In order to write a truly good novel, the writer needs to study his craft, just like: nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers, and dancers. It all takes knowledge and practice. Lots of practice. Do you want to be the first person who gets a shot from a nurse? Nope, I want one who's had lots of practice. Do you want to read a book that some writer has just plunked out in two weeks with no knowledge of how to? Not me...

You see, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Study your craft, work with critique partners, study the industry and know what they are looking for. Just because you're no longer in school, you don't get to skip classes and tests. You have to study! You have to know you can pass.

And be sure that you are writing for the right reasons. Writing isn't a hobby, it isn't a game you're playing. It's a serious career that should be treated as such. And by the way, Brad and Angie are busy, so the red carpet's out!


Lora said...

I write to know what I think, but more importantly, I write to know what God thinks.

Linda Glaz said...

It did help to write our thoughts on paper (or computer) doesn't it? Sometimes it helps us to see where we are headed on a topic. Good point, Lora!

Ron Estrada said...

I write so I can hang out with writers. Actually, many of those reasons you gave were my original motives. I suspect many drop out of the game once they realize how unrealistic those goals are. Those of us that remain change our goals. Now I write because I simply love to create stories. Too simplistic? Maybe so, but why is okay for a painter to paint for fun but a writer must sell to be successful? Of course I want to sell. But that can't be my motivation. If it is, then the joy is gone and I'm probably better off taking a second job delivering pizza. So, yeah, I write because it's fun (except when it's not...but that's another topic).

Jeanette said...

I write because it changes me. And sometimes I don't write because I know it's going to change me.

Linda Glaz said...

That's good, Jeanette! I love when it does that, and yes,Ron, I hear ya. We probably all start out with those ideas and then we learn what it's really all about.

JoyAveryMelville said...

I write because. . .God called me to-
I fought it - I argued - I procrastinated - I SURRENDERED -

then He enabled me-then He gave me the ideas-then He gave me the resources-then He gave me the STORY - and - boy - I WANT to ALWAYS write in obedience to Him now.