Have you ever wondered why you write? I began putting pen to paper at about the time I was preparing to graduate from high school. There was a time when I thought I could write just as abundantly and as successfully as the writers who wrote the many books I read.
After completing one reading project after another, I got into the habit of telling myself that I could write as well as he or she. Of course, in reality, I couldn’t, not even close, but at that young age I was convinced I could, and at the time, that’s all that seemed to matter.
I wanted to be like Hemingway, Poe, Mailer, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Thoreau and many others. In my heart though, ultimately I knew I needed to be like me and this is the path I chose.
I began my writing career with the notion that I would one day be famous after penning the great American novel. That day has yet to come some 20 plus years later, but there is still time and who knows, anything can happen, right?
I refuse to give up knowing that anything can happen at any given moment and when combined with the simple fact that I love to write, we have before us a very powerful and seductive tonic.
Writing is perhaps the most difficult process I have ever known. It can be an enormously lonely undertaking, requiring every ounce of self-starter blood coursing through my veins. There have been moments when I dread the thought of writing, and other moments when I absolutely could not wait to let the creative juices rush forth.
I admire and enjoy reading all the great 19th and 20th century authors. My library is filled with many of their works. I’ve read and reread many of them, and in between, I continue to write while pursuing the life-long challenge to endeavor to write and write well. I like to think I will always choose quality over quantity any day.
So today I write to improve my craft more than the desire to pen the great American novel. I write with the desire to eventually garner an audience that appreciates my hard work while providing valuable feedback.
I think almost anyone will agree that criticism can become very unsavory and difficult to swallow but enormously valuable if interpreted correctly. For me, criticism has become a valued and trusted friend that I admire and respect.
More than anything though, I write to entertain the reader, the one who has chosen to take the time to open my book. I write because I desire to unleash a flood of emotion seldom felt in the real world. I write in the hopes that the reader will find some value in my story and all the better if my words manage to produce a tear or a spate of laughter.
I feel fortunate that my legacy is not dependent on whether I become a reputable writer or not because at the end of the day, all that really matters is that I’m able to write. Quantity and quality at various times tend to take a back seat as I sit at the keyboard only because I feel the need to write. I tell myself, if I can just write then the rest will come into focus sooner than later.
It is said the more you write the better you become at your craft. Practice makes perfect they say. Write and the recognition will come they say. I say, make it simple, write, write often, read as much as you can, strive to learn as much as you possibly can about the craft and do it all over again, day after day.
Above all else, I have learned writing requires patience, a desire to adapt and learn as much as you can while taking the craft as serious as the performance of a brain surgeon hovering with great confidence over the operating table.
I write because I love to create, build my little worlds the way I see them. Writing is about expressing emotion while touching the heart and soul of every willing reader. I write because I have found a craft I can respect and admire. I write to entertain my readers with a quality story and finally, I write because … well, I’m simply wired that way, and I suspect you are too.
Good luck and much reward in all of your writing endeavors!
Next Week: Fiction Writer’s Corner – The Birth of Something Big – Part 2