Why on Wednesday: Why Are YOU Writing?

Chess Board - TwitterThere’s a crazy notion out there right now that everyone should publish a book. I’d like to break this down logically, but I’m a Figment, so I’ll break it down Figment-logically:

  1. Everyone should birth a baby. Yeah, that makes sense. Those who can’t birth a baby (men, women with fertility issues, small children, the elderly, aliens, and animals), those who don’t want to birth a baby, and those who shouldn’t birth a baby makes a pretty compelling argument against this. The same thing goes for book publishing: some can’t (lack of skills, finances, commitment, etc.); some don’t want to (which is perfectly valid); and some simply shouldn’t (I’ve read a few published “books” I wish hadn’t been published because… ugh).
  2. Everyone should sell a piece of art/ craft work. Really? Because not everyone will ever be good enough to sell something.
  3. Everyone should become a rocket scientist/ brain surgeon/ marathoner/ concert pianist.  All ridiculous, right?

I am not saying people shouldn’t write. Everyone should write. Anyone who wants to should write a book. Hurrah! I’m also not saying we should stop anyone from writing a book or publishing it.

But there’s a big push out there to get everyone to publish a book. It comes from companies that make good money off fledgling authors. I do not think it comes from anyone wanting the best for someone. It’s not in everyone’s best interests to publish a pile of steaming vomit mixed with crap spew. It’s, in fact, not in anyone’s best interests.

So, that brings me to that big question: why do you write?

  • Enjoyment
  • Mental stability/ emotional release
  • Growth/ learning
  • Memoir/ memory aid
  • Publication

There’s a lot of reasons (including many I didn’t list) to write, and most of them don’t lead to publication.

If you want to publish– especially if you want to be a “professional writer”– you should treat it with the same seriousness, the same intensity, that you would treat becoming a brain surgeon/ rocket scientist/ marathoner/ concert pianist. It’s a job, even if it’s not the job that’s paying the bills.

But if you just want to write to write to write to write (I got a little carried away there), then, please, write! Write to the sun and beyond. Enjoy that writing.

I’m not going to stop anyone from publishing. I’m just going to ask that you treat my career choice with the same respect you want yours given.

Motivation Monday: WHY Write a Book?

Chess Board - TwitterIf you’ve been following along, we’ve worked on how to write, what to write about, and done an outline. (You did do your homework, right?) Before we go any further, though, you really  have to understand why you’re writing a book.

There is no wrong reason for writing a book. None. But if you don’t know why you’re writing, you may go about it the wrong way. (Yes, there is a wrong way for you, just like there is a wrong way for me.)

I’m writing a book to get down the stories my dad/mom/next-door-neighbor told me.
If you’re not planning to publish (or you’re only planning to publish to adoring family and friends, then the format won’t matter as much. Good grammar may be optional. You can create your own cover and learn design or get one online for $5 (Fiverr.com). This is a labor of love, not a polished product. Enjoy the ride, but don’t stress over it.

I’m writing a book because I love to write. I might publish, someday.
Go as slowly as you want. You’re doing this for the story. This is where pantsers excel, just letting the story move them. If you eventually decide to publish, you can go back and edit the words into shape. For you, it’s about enjoying the commune with your muse.

I’m writing a book for traditional publication.
Read up. Find out what the markets are and what the formula is for your genre. Don’t stress over the cover, but pay for a good editor. You might get lucky and find an editor/agent who appreciates someone thinks outside of the box, but most of them won’t. Take the time to find out who wants what, too.

I’m writing a book for self-publication.
Learn how to write, first. Either study cover design or pay for a good one. Read up on the business side of being a writer, because being an indie means you are a small business. You can write how you want and what you want, but you’ll sell better if you at least find your niche audience (know who you are writing for) before you get too attached to your story about alien llamas from Venus who love curling. Get an editor– a good one. If you’re planning on publishing more than one book, save up for a block of ISBN numbers; you’ll save money in the long run. Either learn how to format well or get someone else to do it.

I’m not trying to scare you off from self-publishing, by the way. I just want more people to realize that self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. It’s for the person who knows what he wants to write, is willing to work hard to get it off the ground, and isn’t afraid to market herself.

So, let’s start with the basics before you write a word on the page: why are you writing your book? Remember, there’s no wrong answer unless you lie to yourself. Looking forward to some great responses.