Thursday, October 08, 2015

Why Do You Write?


A writer friend of mine is struggling. She's writing her first book. She's been writing that same book for more than twenty years. It's almost done. Her original goal was the end of this year. Sadly, she is sabotaging herself and her writing.

How?

With fear. Fear that the book she's poured her entire life and work into won't measure up. Won't be the one that changes the world or lives. 

So she is frozen. Like that stature above. Paralyzed to drop his wheel and spin into the future,

Are you that writer? Have you considered why you started writing? Why you want so badly to produce a book and see it in print? Sure, I know you are going to say it's not about the fame. It's not about the numbers. It's because you want to make a difference. 

But how big a difference? How big an impact? 

What if only one person buys your book. Would all your sweat and tears and labor have been worth it? Would you write the next book? 

You better know your answer. I'm going to tell you what happened to me. I sold my seventh novel. Finally. Oh JOY! I had made it. It's been a little more than four months. I might have sold 350 plus books. Sure, some were given away in a marketing plan from the publisher. And yes it was a small publisher. And then I could have done more to push the sales...Are you listening? There will always be some reason we can come up with but the fact remains my first book was not a BestSeller. Yours might not be either. 

Does that mean you give up? Does that mean you don't write your book after hearing numbers? Or are you thinking but mine will be different. I hope so. I feel that way about my next book and the one after that. As I grow as I writer, I plan to improve my skills and my marketing abilities. 

So think again. Why do you write? Why do we waste time day-after-day turning out a book that maybe not a lot of people will read or buy? 

Here's my answer: Because ONE person might.

I can't tell you how many kind and sweet emails I received by readers who were touched by my words. They encouraged and comforted me. 

But is ONE enough for you?

It was for me. Once the reality of publishing washed over me and I came up coughing but alive--I found new resolve. One reader IS enough. Will I always dream for more? Of course. Hey, I'm human. But until then...ONE is always enough.

Want to impact a life with what you write? Then do it. Write it. Get it out there.

Someone is waiting.

11 comments:

Lin Floyd said...

I think the person you most impact by writing any book is YOURSELF. The understanding that comes to you and the healing as you put yourself into your novel or poem or journal. That's why I write is for healing and finding my voice. If it helps one other person that's great-if not, it's helped me...

Lily Robinson said...

I agree with Lin. While I wouldn't mind a spot on a best-seller list, it isn't what I expect, and it sure isn't why I write. Pushing 60, it's only been the last few years I've made public anything I write, and I've been writing since I was a child. Finishing this book (or the other one...or another one) is a personal goal. But I write for healing. Many of my characters are developed from personal experiences. Embellished. Quite a bit. But it is truly cathartic.

Kenda Turner said...

I have had these stories in my head for so long--I still want to see how they turn out. So I keep writing, hoping that someday others can read them, too. I guess when when the writing bug takes hold of you, it won't let go, no matter how old you get!

Lynn said...

Living in a world where instant gratification is marketed as the way to happiness, it takes strength, resilience, and lots of discipline to keep on writing sometimes when the fruits appear to not even bud. Yet, that fruit may be just different than our expectations and so much the sweter. I hope your friend keeps pushing through on competing the work she's started. She has a good mentor in you.

Catherine Ensley said...

Your reasons for writing are so noble! I'm afraid mine are not that selfless, and so I suppose, I may decide the effort isn't worth the cost. I'm not out for money or fame, but I do value my time. Already time for scrapbooking, which I dearly love, is being squeezed out of my life, and that troubles me.

Your post helped me to clarify things that were already on my mind.

Karen Lange said...

I like that - "Someone is waiting." Very well said! :)

Retired English Teacher said...

This is great advice. Terri, I loved your book, "The Mulligan." I think of Bobbi often. She was a memorable character. I honestly never remember characters in books, but Bobbi made an impact on me. Maybe I could relate to her too much. She tried to make others happy rather than follow her dream.

You are the real deal. Keep on writing. I'll keep on reading. Hugs.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

I couldn't agree more.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

You are so right, Terri. Writers must get past the "this won't be good enough, no one will read it, I'm wasting my time" and send the work out to publishers, and yes, continue to learn about marketing and publishing. I have LOTS to learn about marketing and publishing. But first I need to finish my memoir about attending college with five children in tow, no matter how many obligations and interruptions come my way.

Nicola said...

Fear has to be overcome in order to achieve anything worthwhile in life. I know exactly how your friend is feeling. I have experienced the same kind of anguish (haven't we all). But, like you, I reminded myself to enjoy the writing journey and not allow the anxieties of what may or may not be awaiting at the end of the journey. Especially when it comes to things we are not able to control.
Thank you for the thoughtful post, Terri and I wish you and your friend all the best.

CIELO said...

I write to survive...

Cielo