Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why Writer?

If you make the decision at some point to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) eventually someone is going to ask you why. It's inevitable. Someone here posted a great quote awhile back to the effect that: writing is very hard and has little chance of any reward for that effort.

It's a good quote.

So, people are going to want to know the reason you've apparently lost your mind. Your friends and family first, and at some point, other authors. They'll talk a great deal about your motivation and though they insist there is no right or wrong answer, you can tell by the tone in their voices that there IS in fact a correct and an incorrect response.

Here's a hint. The right answer is not "for the money" or "to become famous." Both those answers will earn you a measure of scorn proportionate to the ridiculousness of the suggestion. (In truth this is exactly what they wanted you to say, because they in fact are holding on to the "right" answer and have been dying to whip it out and show off) They make a big deal of this right answer. I have seen it on many blogs, forum posts, Facebook...all the fancy places. I'm going to make a big deal about it too, but only so I can make fun of it. That's sort of what I do.

The right, just and valid reason for becoming a writer is: Because I have to write. (This is even better received if you emphasize the have to. haaaaaaaahve tooo write.) It is often paraphrased thus: There is a story inside me that has to come out. 


As it comes down to it, I don't have any problem with "the correct" reason to write, except that I don't believe in "one correct" reason for anything. And they make a good point in that, if you can easily walk away from writing and never look back, you should probably go for it. It's hard and often thankless, yes, yes. I'll run with that. But who cares if someone decides to write just for the money or to try for fame? Isn't that their decision?

But I (emphasize the I ) write because I have something inside of me that must come out.

Well, isn't that just SPESHUL. See it's not the reason I have issue with, it's the tone. My way is more valid, you shameless, greedy, hack. Etc.

And as it happens, the correct reason is in fact not so lofty, is it? Technically, it is exactly the same reason you poop. Yup. I went there. Exactly the same reason. Not so fancypants in that light, is it?

Perspective does wonderful things. As it happens, I like "the reason" much better in this light. Some days, in fact, that is exactly an appropriate comparison.
I think if we all imagined our art in that way, we'd stay a lot more grounded...

And possibly more regular.
~ Frances


  1. So true. Often followed by 'Couldn't you get a real job doing that somehow? Like technical writing or something?'

    Sorry, mad shortage of killin mutants in technical writing.

  2. I'm so adding "killin mutants" to my job perks list.

  3. Same reason I crochet or cook or tell fart jokes: because it's fun. I love your analogy to pooping, it's so true.

    And I'm gonna go gun me down some mutant suckers now...


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