We're not even unique--we think we are when we're aspiring, but after joining the "published" club, we realize that we're all the same. We all say we write because "we're compelled to do it" and/or because "the characters won't leave me alone."
Guess what? Inmates in insane asylums say similar things.
So why do we really write?
“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”--Virginia Woolf
It's fun. I admit it. I have fun with writing and editing. If I didn't, then all of that stuff in the first paragraph would make me throw in the towel.
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
--James A. Michener
Do you know how mad that makes people? It's not an intellectual answer. I'm not being profound in saying that I have fun creating stories. I'm supposed to tell you that I want to change lives (that may be true with my memoir, but, even if my fiction touches on dark and disturbing topics, I'm still enjoying myself). I'm supposed to be more writer-ly and aloof with my answer---that whole "my characters won't leave me alone until I tell you their story" crap, for instance.
But honestly? I entertain myself with writing, with researching, with creating! I love it.
Don't you? Isn't that what truly keeps you persevering through all the obstacles and frustrations leading to success? A sincere, pure love for what you do? Isn't love the only excuse we need for persevering through all the other bullshit this business brings with it?
“When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.”--Neil Gaiman
Am I compelled? I don't know. I could easily quit and sit in a hammock by the Caribbean and socialize with random people for the rest of my life while not twitching from writing withdrawal. My fingers won't itch with the need to touch a keyboard.
Does that make me less of a writer? No. Does that mean that I'm not meant to be a novelist? No. It means I'm being honest with you.
If this ever stops being fun for me, I'm done.
I think it's important for all creative professionals to stay in tune with the why we do what we do so that we don't get disillusioned by the other stuff. Just write...or paint...or act...or sculpt...or design. Nurture your love affair with your creation and make no apologies for enjoying yourself.
Think of it this way: it really seems to upset all those other people trapped in their cubicles when we say that we're having fun writing for a living. So maybe the pay sucks, our fellow writers can be nuts or downright nasty, readers can be greedy with all their requests for free stuff, but isn't it worth it just to see that uptight relative grit their teeth when you smile and talk about how much fun you're having making up stories as a career?
Write on! (and have fun!)
Amber Lea Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness.
To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com.
For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.