Archive for January, 2012

Why do writer write what they write?

Who knows why we write? Your guess is as good as mine is. Writer’s reasons for writing are as variable as there are writers, almost, just about, nearly. If asked, “Why do you write,” some may shrug, hem haw and stare skyward as if the answer floated somewhere just out of reach. I had to stop and think myself when I began writing this article. It brought to memory when I first wrote about why I wanted to write, a suggestion I had read somewhere. I started a journal, something permanent that someone may find and read, something I could look at in the future, like now. I was so scared my hand shook and my breath came fast. I still feel a little like that every time I begin something new. Back then, my reason was therapeutic, not that I was a lunatic, well, maybe a little.

Now, I’m convinced I’m off my rocker. No one in their right mind would knowingly expose themselves to such brutal punishment. I continue only because I’m somewhat of a sadist and I haven’t burned out yet. There always seems to be something new to write about, and when I can use myself as an example, it makes it that much more exciting, for me.

Like everything else I did back then, I was only interested in finding out whether or not I could do it. Back then, over two decades ago, I succeeded in accomplishing everything I attempted, anything and everything that caught my fancy. These days, little catches my fancy. Old age is something I never thought I would accomplish and now I see why.

As a child, everyone pounded into my thick skull that I was dumb, stupid and lazy. All my life I kept trying to prove to myself I wasn’t. It appears this writing thing is a little more difficult than I figured. However, over those two decades, my writing goals have changed. I started out writing short stories, novels were out of the question. They were too large a project for such a small mind. I never had plans or hopes of publishing anything. My goal was pleasing those in my writing group.

The publishing urge didn’t strike me until a dozen years ago when I decided to write a novel. It was before self-publishing became popular. Three novels later, I learned publishing meant little. Promotion and sales are what makes a writer popular, whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. I hung my head, and went back to short stories and succeeded in publishing a few, a dissatisfying accomplishment. Now it’s writing unedited blog articles. At least I know people are reading my words and this feeds the need to write more.

The only thing left on my list of achievements is writing a non-fiction book. Maybe in another decade or so, I might. Now, that desire is but a spark. When it becomes a flame, I may try it. If nothing else, it may keep me out of the bottle and off the street.

As you see, our reasons for writing differ greatly and our goals change for some reason or another. Being a famous writer was never my goal, a hope maybe. I could never picture myself as famous, and maybe that’s the reason I haven’t succeeded, or maybe it’s because I suck at writing novels or maybe I fear being in the limelight. Once you become popular, you must continue up the ladder. The next must be bigger and better than the last. Pressure increases. Pleasant writing periods turn into demanding deadlines. Now you are a professional writer working for someone else. Then you might like these things. Maybe working under pressure spurs you onward and upwards. Okay, get out there and getter dun.

Having a goal in mind and a gut wrenching desire to write something has a lot to do with it. I start many projects and sometimes lose my driving force and have to put them aside. I just cannot force myself and have it come out as I felt at first.

Desire goads one on to greater achievements, I guess. Then, who says I haven’t been successful? Who or what determines success. I became and continue to be, a writer. What I write tickles the hell out of me. People all over the world read my blogs, not a lot, but enough to make me proud I’m a writer.

Remember Jean Auel who wrote The Clan of The Cave Bear and three other very successful novels in the series about 30 years ago. She is one of the authors that inspired me to write my Science Fiction Sociological novels. Twenty years later, she wrote another sequel that in my opinion was terrible. I struggled through about half of it before I took it back to the library. The librarian asked me if I liked it. I told her I did’t and she made a gagging gesture and said she didn’t either. I don’t know what Ms Auel’s problem was. Maybe she was under pressure from a publisher who could make a few bucks merely from her fame, if she write another sequel. Maybe after the long spell from writing she lost her enthusiasm, the fire that leapt off the pages of her first novels was gone. I haven’t read her latest in the series that came out last year.

If you are writing for money, you may be in the wrong business, unless you’re a publisher. But then, most new writers these days are publishers, self publishers. That’s not what I signed up for when I began writing. In fact, I was a published writer before I began writing. I used to write articles on how to dismantle and repair different cameras. That’s not writing though. It’s ‘remove screw A from cog B and release tension on spring C’. I was simply telling someone how to do something. Which, I just realized, is what I’m doing now. Wow, I’m back where I was 35 years ago. Why is it so much harder now than it was then? It must be ‘correctness.’ Back then, I didn’t realize I was nearly an illiterate, but functioning dyslexic. I just now realized this also I’m still doing what I started out to do when I consciously wrote those first words in my journal. I’m still finding out who and what I am.

Whatever your reason/s for writing is/are, keep on keeping on even if you don’t know the what-for. If you’re happy with what you’re writing, does it matter if anyone else is. If you are writing for money, you might want to get into another writing field, like editing, or whatever professional writers do. Remember, a professional is someone who is paid for what they do. Most writers don’t make enough to cover their expenses. Try figuring out how much a writer makes per hour. If they only work six or eight hours a day and that’s usually seven days a week at $10 per hour is $20,440 divided by $3.00 per book sold, if you’re lucky, is 6,813 books. Average book sales per writer are around 500. That doesn’t quite foot the bill. Of course, if you’re prolific and pounding out a half dozen or so books per year, you’ll do pretty well. It takes me a year to decide what kind of book I want to write.

Have fun and don’t get discouraged. Someone out there loves you. Have a pleasant day.



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I’m glad 2011 is gone. The last month was a bitch. I thought it would never end. I felt stifled. I started things and couldn’t finish them. Although, that’s not so unusual for me. It’s one of my distasteful traits and fills me with guilt.

Anyway, it’s a new year, time to throw away last year’s list and make a new one. We try not to notice of the things we promised to accomplish last year; it’s too painful. Besides, we need things for the new list. More things we swear we will do this year knowing we will let them drag by month after month until it’s time to make yet another new list. Last year’s diet didn’t work, but this new one will take off that 10 pounds faster. Didn’t get the photo album finished, but these new pictures will make it a better one. Didn’t get to visit grandma last year, but we’ll spend a few extra days with her this year. Sound familiar?

Making a to-do-list is a good thing if we keep it “before our face” as my wife puts it. We make New Year Resolution Lists with good intentions, and then forget them until another New Year pops up. Few take this yearly tradition seriously. However, I hate making promises and not following through especially when it’s a promise I made to myself.

This year, instead of doing the list thing, I know will fill me with trepidation and I end up disenchanted, and feeling like a looser, I decided to make a list of everything I had accomplished in the past year whether or not I planned or promised them.

Here is my list of accomplishments for 2011 taken from a decade of promises.

1. Cleaning the garage, something I had been promising my wife I was going to do for the past five years. I got it done. It took me a month and a half, but it is all clean and orderly now. Weary and somewhat prideful, I reported to my wife that I had finished the long overdue chore. A smile lit up her face and she gave me a big hug. She danced out to inspect my work and returned 15 seconds later with a long face and tears trickling down her cheeks. I thought she was too overjoyed.

“I still cannot park my car in it,” she sobbed.

“No, you’re mistaken, Sweetie, garages aren’t for cars. They’re for storage and workshops.” I pointed out. Can you believe, she wanted me to get rid of my woodworking equipment that took me a lifetime collecting. So what if I hadn’t used it for a few years (ten to be exact). Maybe I will later. For 15 seconds I felt good about myself, I guess that’s better than nothing.

2. Bush trimming, another dreaded job that went undone for years. It took me two days, and three near heart attacks, but I got it done.

3. I also raked up 142 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and acorns.

4. I cut the grass 37 times.

5. I planted ten fruit trees I am doubtful will bear fruit before I take the eternal dirt map.

6. Exercising: last year I managed to walk, skip and jog over 936 miles, I spent seventy some hours doing yoga stretching. I spent unknown hours meditating, falling asleep and waking up wondering where I was.

7. I spent over 2,880 hours on the computer, and watched TV for over 2,184 hours. I slept for 2190 hours, not counting naps. The remaining 1,435 hours I contribute to trying to remember what I went the kitchen for, so I end up eating too many snacks and watching my neighbor across the street pace up and down his driveway. The poor soul has less to do than I. When I go back to my computer, I remember why I went to the kitchen. I write it down on a post-it note and head back to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water.

8. I completed half a dozen short stories and E-mailed two of them to publishers. That was over six months ago. That’s better than getting a rejection the next day though.

9. I wrote 37 articles and posted them to my blogs and started a dozen or more I haven’t finished.

10. I visited about 3,000,000 websites researching things to write about.

11. Last year I finally built the garden arbor I had been threatening to make for the past four years. My wife attempted to discourage me from doing this task. I believe she had little faith I could do it. Well, I showed her. Now she wants two more. I may find time in the next few years. Keeping her complaining is good. Otherwise we wouldn’t have much to talk about.

So, you see, instead of wasting ten minutes at the beginning of the year making a list of things I know I will never accomplish and feeling guilty about it, I managed to waste several hours compiling a list of things I have accomplished in the past year. I feel much better now. I’m proud of my accomplishments. I think it’s an impressive list wouldn’t you agree? Never mind, don’t answer that.


The wife just about has me convinced I should get rid of my woodworking tools. Maybe I can get another year of complaining out of her before she hires someone to do it

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