For indie authors, there is one question we’re constantly asking ourselves…
Why do I write?
Writing is not our so-called “day job.” If we get paid to write, it’s probably nothing worthy of a happy dance. We have “real” jobs because we’re real people with real bills to pay. Sure, we’d love to write for a living, make enough money from it to support our families and live comfortably. But the likelihood of some big Hollywood director calling us up to say that they just read our self-published e-book and loved it so much they want to turn it into a major motion picture is rather close to nil. Same goes for running into Stephen King on the street, chatting him up long enough to casually mention our book and him actually taking the time to read it. (He’s back here in Maine for the summer, by the way.)
So then, if our dreams seem so far out of reach, why bother? I will tell you. Let’s count ‘em down…
#5.) SANITY: Imagine a giant projector screen inside your head that can play you movies that don’t really exist, starring actors no one knows and telling stories that have yet to be told. Now imagine that this projector can never be turned off. The only way to keep it from driving you completely crazy is to bring those stories to life, write them out to make them real and, hopefully, give them an ending. For a writer, that projector keeps playing, so we have to keep writing.
#4.) COMMUNICATION: Humans communicate in more ways than any other creature on the planet. We speak over 7,000 different languages, we sing over 500 different styles of music and Twitter averages over 40 million tweets a day. The characters from our stories have something to say and a writer is the only one that can give them a voice.
#3.) EXPRESSION: This is different from communication. This is about the writer’s voice, not their characters. An author has something to say too, something about themselves that can be expressed through their characters. It can be something as simple as the way they wear their hair, to some controversial view on politics or religion. It’s our story too.
#2.) RECOGNITION: I don’t know about you, but if I create something and someone else tells me that they like it, it makes me feel good. Even if they say they don’t like it, it motivates me to improve. And please know that this has nothing to do with money. I’m talking about my readers. Just saying “my readers” is an empowering feeling for a writer. When they’re happy, we’re happy.
#1.) LOVE: If you’re not a writer, take a look at the things you love to do. Whether it’s wood crafts or taking photographs or making quilts or building a classic car from the frame up, you don’t know why you love to do it. You just do. As writers, if we make it big or not, we will still write. Our love of it is unconditional.
As writer’s, entering the publishing world, especially on our own, feels more like diving headfirst into Pandora’s Box. It’s chaotic and intimidating and even frightening. But in the midst of all that madness, we all know what remains at the bottom.
So keep writing.