Why Write?

ouija-large-300Feeling particularly uninspired about blogging, I reached out to my online communities last week to see what folks wanted me to talk about. Thanks to those of you who responded! Your questions mostly looked like this:

  • Should I be writing in 1st or 3rd person? Which will sell better?
  • Should I be writing picture books or young adult novels? Which will sell better?
  • Why are there so many  online courses and webinars? Will taking one help me to get an agent?
  • What do you look for in a client? Does having an online presence help or hinder?
  • How important is it for me to have other people critique my work before sending it out to agents?
  • I’m out of ideas. Do you have strategies or tips for inspiration?

Before I answer these questions, though, I have a question for you! Why are you writing? I mean, I understand that writers want to get published and all, but why are you writing? For fame? For fortune? If those are your motivations, I strongly urge you to do something else. There’s a very good chance that you won’t get fame and fortune from your writing. Some people write because they have a gajillion stories running around in their overactive imaginations and they need the stories to see the light of day. Some people write because they have something important they feel they want to convey. Some people write because they find it fun. Some people write because they are just talented in that way, and they like to entertain people. There are so many other reasons people write, too. And you should know that of all the people who write, a very small percentage of them will land an agent. And of the ones who get an agent not all will get a book contract. I’m not telling you this to discourage you on your quest to get published though. I’m just saying, don’t write to get an agent. Don’t write to get a book contract. Write because you want to. Because you have to. Because you need to. Because you have something to say, or something you’re trying to work out. Write because it’s fun or a challenge or you’re called to do it. Write because you’re a writer. And then, do what you need to do to improve your craft. For some people, that will look like taking classes, or getting an MFA, or going to conferences, or being in a critique group, or doing webinars…There are a myriad of ways to improve one’s craft. Just keep writing. The answer to most of your questions is do things to improve your writing. How to do that will look different for everyone, because we’re not all alike. Only you know what will work for you. And now, some short answers to those questions.

  • Should I be writing in 1st or 3rd person? Which will sell better? What will work best for your story? What will sell better is a well written story.
  • Should I be writing picture books or young adult novels? Which will sell better? What are the stories you’re drawn to tell? Are they ones that would benefit from illustration? Are they for little kids? Are they for teenagers? What will sell better is a well written story.
  • Why are there so many  online courses and webinars? Will taking one help me to get an agent? I don’t know why there are so many online courses. It’s insane. Take one if you think you’ll get something out of it. What will help you get an agent is having a great manuscript. If taking a course can help you with that, then take one.
  • What do you look for in a client? Does having an online presence help or hinder? The thing I look for, first and foremost, is great writing and a great story. If the writer has an online presence that’s nice. If they don’t, I don’t care. What’s most important is the story. I will explore the second part of this question more fully, in another post.
  • How important is it for me to have other people critique my work before sending it out to agents? It’s probably a good idea. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Why would you want an agent, who gets a trillion email inquiries a day, who will find even the smallest reason to reject your query because of that overload, be the first person to look at your work? Why would you do that?
  • I’m out of ideas. Do you have strategies or tips for inspiration? Read, read, read, read, read! And I’ll blog some tips next week, too.

Any other questions? Give me your suggestions for blog posts you’d like to see, in the comments section below.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Why Write?

  1. I like the heartwarming and fun way you write your blog and respond to questions! Thank you.

  2. I write children’s stories because I hope that I can help a child to be inspired or get an idea or feel comforted through something I’ve written. I also write because I enjoy the process, even though sometimes it’s challenging. I like the sense of accomplishment and pride when I finish a story. I write because I find that if I take a break from it for too long, I get a little bit grumpy. And I write because it’s the way I interpret and make sense of my experiences. Some people talk to friends to sort out their thoughts, I write in my journal.

  3. Years ago, I had a small seed of an idea for a book. The characters and plot that came from it kept growing and growing until I couldn’t contain them any longer.

  4. I write because I love writing; I always have. It’s one of the first things I think of when something happens in my life — how will I write about this? This also struck me… “Some people write because they have a gajillion stories running around in their overactive imaginations…” in your post. Yes. Way too vivid an imagination here. But mostly, I cannot imagine a day without writing and figuring out how to get those stories out. Great post, thanks for your answers!

  5. I like the way you turned these questions around for
    the writer to answer. It comes down
    to the individual, who happens to be a
    writer, in terms of what stories should they write, etc. We all have something different to offer as writers, but it’s hard not to listen to ‘what the trend is’ or ‘pb’s are too expensive to produce’ and write just write a damn good story! We have to find our place on the mat, breathe-and believe in ourselves and our stories.