Friday, October 1, 2010

Why do you write?

I typically hear two answers to the question “why do you write?” The it’s-in-my-soul types claim they write to express themselves and enjoy the creative process. That’s straight-forward and honest. If sincere, they can be happy journaling for themselves or scribbling trifles to share with friends.

The second group says “I want to be published,” aka paid to write. This group gets hazy, even to themselves. If you just want to be published and paid to write, it’s not that tough if you write coherently. But you may have to write about topics that bore you. I’ve taken assignments that were a total snore-fest because I needed the work.

The fuzzy group-twos are those who say “I want to be published,” but mean “I want someone to pay me to print and sell what I feel like writing.” Admittedly, some lucky—and talented—souls have achieved this remarkable feat. That’s what keeps the optimists among us typing away.

I’ve encountered several writers in critique groups who claim they want to improve, but spend more time justifying their prose than listening to feedback, as if they’d have the opportunity to explain awkward passages to readers. Sometimes it’s hard to see your own mistakes and motivations. Maybe we’re all fuzzy twos.

No comments: