Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why do you write?

What motivates you to write fictional stories? This motivation is something I've been thinking about quite a lot at late as I've shelved all my stories and haven't written since May, (aside from poetry that is.)

When I wrote Into This Mind, I was writing sort of 'for' this friend who was interested in my story. I was super charged and psyched about writing. I had (and still have) a list of story ideas. I wasn't very fond of the editing phase, especially given I'm not one to reread stories that I like, let alone rereading the same one 10-20 times.

The time I spent on my book was nearly an obsession. Staying home, typing on beautiful sunny days, missing out on time with family and friends, I didn't do much in the way of volunteer work, it started to suffocate me.

For someone to really enjoy writing, I believe they must love it. They must love expressing their ideas on paper, and that their main goal is to release their stories. So writing is a release. Having readers is a perk, being published a bigger perk, and making a living writing some fantastic dream to be paid for doing something you'd be doing regardless. And that's it, I believe the writing needs to be something you'd do regardless. If someone told you that you had zero chance of getting published, it wouldn't matter, you would keep writing. If they told you that NO ONE would ever read your stories, you'd still write.

I write poetry, close to 700 poems since I was around 12 years old. Sometimes entered a contest, but they're mainly scams . . . I write poetry to express my feelings, that is the main goal, and I mainly write when I'm sad so I cry into the paper.

I've been much happier not writing, but still, there are times, when I think of my two WIP and feel like they're quietly chirping to me. But no, I tell myself, I don't want to go down that road again. Because writing fictional stories to me NEEDS a purpose. I need that reader that wants the story, and when I open that box, then I want to be published, and I can't quiet the yearning so I dosed it and blew it completely out.

By not writing I can read, by not writing I can spend more time volunteering, time with family, friends and my cats.

So do you yearn to write, or do you yearn to be published? If the greater yearning is to be published and have a career working out of your home, writing could really be a frustrating downward spiral.


Bevie said...

I write to get away.

Since I was very young I have felt this need to escape from the unhappiness of daily living. That is why what I write is fantasy. I need to get away.

I can read a good book many times. Read Lord of the Rings nearly 200 times. Read Well-Favored Man nearly 20 times. There are others.

"If someone told you that you had zero chance of getting published, it wouldn't matter, you would keep writing. If they told you that NO ONE would ever read your stories, you'd still write."

Yeah, I suppose. I've been working on my saga for more than thirty years. And I have had someone tell me (about twenty-five years ago) that I would never be published.

It is - and isn't - about being published anymore. I need to be published because, having been kicked out of the workforce, I find I don't want to return in the same capacity I once worked. I want to be a writer for a living. Even if that means wearing raggedy clothes.

I've been poor before. I'm poor again. I can live with that. But you're right. Writing stories is a need. I have to get away.

Bevie said...

You changed the name of your blog!

I like it.

Spy Scribbler said...

I write because the characters need to get out of my head so I can live in peace. And sleep in peace, LOL!

Or sometimes I get lonely and just want to hang out with them, and if I write them down they're more vivid.

But I finish stories for money. :-)

Spy Scribbler said...

Oh wow, you have, haven't you? I like it, too!

Lisa said...

Yes, I changed my blog title - more fitting, I sort of write about everything. I can't be bothered to have a different blog for all my topics - don't really have enough to say for one topic!

Wow - bevie - 200 times - no way. Do you read fast?

Spy, you make a good point, to write the story for the joy, but finish it for publishing. For me, the editing was so painful, I just hated it. So there is something to that for me, to write to release the story BUT don't go back and edit it. That was how I used to write short stories a long while back.

I spent 5 hours at the Pat brody Shelter for cats today playing with the kitties. What fun! I'd never have that sort of time if I were writing.

Tia Nevitt said...

Writing is actually a low priority in my life, wedged in there between family and blogging. It IS my top-priority hobby. I do want to make money with my writing, but I realize that the only way to do so may be through writing nonfiction.

Getting a gig at a magazine (especially an interest-specific magazine) writing articles is MUCH easier than getting sold writing fiction. I sold my first magazine article with the first query I ever wrote. (I wish I still had that query.) You just need a good idea and basic writing ability.

I've made between 3,000 and 4,000 dollars writing nonfiction. My long-laid goal is to be published in fiction before I am 45. If I don't succeed with that, I'd switch emphasis to nonfiction, but I probably won't give up fiction, entirely.

Bevie said...

I read very fast. I still recall starting The Hobbit around seven one evening, and finishing Return of the King around seven the next morning. (Then I started over again.) Did that two or three times.

If a book is interesting, I can usually finish it in an evening or two.

Lisa said...

I've forgotten that you've written some non-fiction Tia - what was the topic that you wrote about? Did you write the article first and then submit, or sell the idea before writing the article?

Wow -Bevie - you really do read fast.
now wonder you read the same story over so that the joy of the story can last longer.
I've been SLOWLY reading the 'Life of Pi'. Not too bad, but I'm having trouble staying interested and I'm reading over quite a few pages.