My wife made a good point last night. If I claim to be a writer, and make the case that for a writer to develop his skill, he is to write, write, write…then why am I not doing it? She also said that if I am not serious about writing then I need to drop the whole thing and concentrate on something else.
Writing my novel was one of the reasons why I drummed up the courage to leave a high paying job. I also claimed it was for me to continue on in my theological studies. That has failed. Will my writing fail too?
Here are some questions I keep asking myself:
Why do you want to write? So that you can show off that you are a paid writer? So that you can gloat about having written a best seller? But what are the chances of ever having a best seller? Slim to none!
Do you even like writing? Yes, it is a chore and it is difficult. But isn’t exercise? Isn’t weightlifting? Aren’t there times when you feel like not going and hate doing it? But what happens when you do it? You feel great and look great to boot! You are feeling healthy again and wifey says you’re not snoring, which explains why you feel more rested when you wake up.
So again, the question arises—why do you want to write? I want to write because I believe I have something to share with the world. If not the world then at least with those close to me. Like a sort of legacy. Something of my imagination that I can share.
Do I like writing? It is tough and taxing, draining everything that is within me. The problem I have is with the rules—don’t use this and write like this, no on-the-nose writing, resist the urge to explain, show don’t tell, blah blah blah.
For crying out loud, it’s supposed to be an art form, not a project for making money! That’s the frustrating part. That’s the part that makes me hate writing: trying to write as the industry says you need to write. It drains you and destroys your creativity. Instead of coloring the mind and lifting the heart into possible worlds, you’re at the mercy of editors and marketers. In the Harry Potter series there were the Dementors that sucked the life out of people. We writers have Dementors of our own—the professionals.
Yes, I obviously understand that publishers need to make money or else they would not be in business. And yes, I will not lie but admit that making a lot of money in writing and living off it is appealing and exciting. But if all I am doing is writing to make sure that I get the most “bang for the buck” then screw it! My writing will have become a prostitute for profit! How boring! How treacherous!
Even now as I write these 750 words, I am looking at the word count to see if I am reaching the maximum word count prescribed. What verbose slavery this whole thing is! Yes, it is a tool. But again, I am stuck in a mode of being driven by a word slave master!
Yet, I need to write the best writing that I can offer. Not sloppy or immature writing. Not writing that inflicts boredom, nor writing that confuses the reader.
So where do I go from here?
I need to set goals:
The first is that I have to complete at least one chapter a week. No excuses. That includes editing and rewriting.
Afterwards, when the whole book is completed, I need to do another reading and then tweak anything else.
Then, I need to select an appropriate editor and follow his or her instructions.
Then, I need to write out to a bunch of agents. This is where I will need help in knowing how to solicit an agent’s services and how to convince them to represent me.
I also need to know how to properly self-publish in the event that traditional publishing is a no-show.
So start writing you idiot! You’re a good storyteller and have something to say. Write children’s books; write fantasy novels or science fiction; write thrillers; write garbage if you have to…just write! Just write your heart out and everything else will fall into place.
Above all, write as if you’re writing for the glory of the Lord. Let it be the best product and literature you can provide. Read a lot and write your brains out.
Show the world the beauty of a myth and how it can reflect the truth of reality.
By Walter Correia
Walter Correia is a frustrated writer who lives in a modest dwelling on the island of Bermuda with two of the most beautiful women of his life–his wife, Maricel, and daughter, Ruth Ysabella.