Mar 15, 2010

Common Sense Monday

I'm officially back to blogging as much as possible. The past month has been a tad sporadic and I plan to change that/develop an actual schedule.


From now on, I'll be writing common sense posts on Mondays. Think "Back to Basics" but ones that make you re-evaluate not re-learn. Does that make sense? Anyway, today's topic is to write for yourself. On some level everyone knows this, but sometimes it gets replaced with "you should write because you're good at it" or "you owe the world your story" or "you're wasting your talent if you don't do this." These are okay but if they're the main reason you're writing you should stop now.

I write for myself. How do I know this? Take, for example, my new WIP. I've gotten so wrapped up into the characters and action and twist that I stopped sending my prior novel out altogether. Two months ago I sent it to three agents, got two full requests, reject on one and still waiting on the other. Oh man, the waits are brutal, huh? Anyway, it doesn't bother me because I'm *gasps again* enjoying what I'm writing now so much that I don't need to "land an agent" at the moment.

(Though, I want to give a shout out to Elle from my crit group who landed an agent a lil while ago. Totally deserved. Her book Clockwise is going to be a bestseller when sold! )

Okay, back to the point. you do not EVER owe anyone your story. If you think that, someone needs to knock you into the pool with a big ol' noodle. (I'm excluding those of you who have signed contracts with publishers because, uh, why yes you DO owe THEM your story.) 

So back to the quoted reasons I listed in paragraph uno. Writing a book because you're good at it is one of the worst reasons in the world for doing it. Doubt me? Let me paint a picture for you...

You are the world's greatest garbage man. Total awesome at getting suckers barrels into the back of your 5mph-can't-let-anyone-past-you truck. But you hate it. Do you think that you should make it a lifelong career just because you do it well? Yes, if I made millions doing it, one of you thought just now. Whoever did, bad writer. Go find a new hobby.

Okay, last is the "you're wasting you talent by not writing" line.

I was good at martial arts growing up. Entered all the competitions and even one a few tournaments. My family said I should continue with it because I was just so darned good. Well, after a while I hated said "talent" and started doing kickboxing (which I'm still in love with). Just because you're good doesn't mean you need to do it.

You should be writing because you love to write, because sitting down and conjuring a story out of thin air makes you laugh, cry, cringe, and ultimately forget that you've got the oven on or your favorite t.v. show started twenty minutes ago. 

That's my first common sense post. As always, feel free to drop a few thoughts below.


Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for the shout out! My journey is so much more fun because I have people like my fab crit partners to share it with.

Very good point you've made here. I suppose it's the same for every kind of artist. In the end, you do it because it's in you to do. You can't not do it.

Ash. Elizabeth said...