Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Why do we write? 

It is, so often, a thankless pursuit. Thankless, if you're counting on getting your thanks in the usual ways, that is. 

Because sometimes that book you loved? Well, maybe an agent won't love it. If it even gets that far. Sometimes it'll flare bright for an instant and then burn out, like a shooting star you poured all your wishes into. 

And that's okay. 

Because that's not why we write, is it? 

If you're in this for fame and for money, that's not smart. Sure, fame and money would be nice. Well, money would be nicer than fame, but if those are the only things you want out of writing, it's probably not going to happen. 

What you need to get out of writing is this: personal satisfaction. 

Whatever else happens with your book -- whether it languishes in a bottom drawer somewhere, or whether it gets published and people tear it to shreds, or whether the only people who ever read it are your own friends and family -- you're the one that counts in this equation. 

Throw away all those fantasies of paying off the mortgage or attending the premiere of the movie based on your book, and remember why you wrote it in the first place. 

The story. 


Remember when that was just a germ of an idea. Remember how you nurtured it and watched it grow. Remember how you moulded it into shape and created something out of nothing. 

That's why you write. 

That's why we all write. 

Because there is something in us that needs to create. There is something in us that believes the imagination is the most precious thing of all. There is something in us that believes stories are treasures. 

All stories. 

There is something in us that wants to create and explore unknown and endless words and universes. There is something in us that needs that. Something that would wither and die if we didn't keep feeding it. Something wonderful. 

Remember that, and keep writing. 

Writing is its own reward. 


  1. Keats said he'd write his poems even if they were all burned in the morning. Dickinson didn't burn hers, but simply tucked them away.

    Some people scoff at this. They say no one writes just for the pleasure of it. But just like with playing music, dancing, and sex, if you're focused on only what you can get out of it, you're kind of missing the whole point.

    1. But surely we all started out writing for the pleasure of it. I think, sometimes, when it becomes a business it gets difficult to remember that. But we should remember it.

      This one's attributed to Confucius: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

      Sounds like a good plan!

    2. Cool quote. Reminds me of this from James M. Barrie: “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”

      Also, I was just reading an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson, and she says something that reminded me of this post:

      Rejection is a constant in writing. Even when you get to the stage where you have an editor who regularly publishes your books, you will still deal with rejection in the form of nasty reviews, or bad sales figures, or non-existent marketing budgets.

      Even J.K. Rowling has bad days. Seriously. She does.

      Do not say to me that you would be willing to have her bad days as long as you could have her income. You didn’t become a writer to be rich. She didn’t, either. She had a story in her heart and she wrote it. She controlled what she could.

    3. That is a great quote.

      And I love the bit about J.K. Rowling having bad days too. Because, yes, it should always be about the stories.

  2. I think that's why so many people, even when they try to quit writing after their fiftieth rejection, find they can't exactly put down the pen. They wake up one morning with a fresh idea and new enthusiasm, and the words start coming out. Been there, done that. Probably will again. :)

    1. Just keep swimming!

      I'm like you. Been there, done that, will do it again!

  3. I just love stories. They're so much fun. It's why I want there to be more of them in the world. Anyone who doesn't want that just strings words together.

    1. Agreed, JE! Making stories is so much fun. It's probably my favourite thing ever. Lucky, hey :)



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