So you wanna be a writer?
I think this is a question every would-be author should be asked before they jump into the ocean with the rest of us would-be authors, are authors, and best-selling authors. Why? Well, not to be mean for one thing, but to save some hurt feelings and manic depression if you really want to get down to it. Let’s sit back, well you sit back, and I’ll try to explain what I mean. Seeing as how this IS my blog you had to see that coming. You did stop by to read what I have to say after all. If you stopped by as an accidental Goggle search please free to continue on your way.
No hard feelings but understand you will be discussed in my next therapy session and by therapy session I mean when I talk to the guy in the parking lot of McDonald’s cleaning my windshield while I wait for my McGriddle. Like I can afford therapy. I’m an author. I can’t even afford a McGriddle.
Now, back to this Blog business.
Being a writer is totally different from being an author. An author gets paid. A writer writes because they need to write like they need to breathe. Now, before I hear an outcry of shock and rage, let me elaborate. Writing is something a person does instinctively. The need to express themselves is so overwhelming they write on anything — napkins, notebooks, their palms, literally anything in the rush to get the things out of their head and out into the world. It’s only as time goes by that this need evolves into the idea that somehow they can make money from doing something they love. Let me stop here and say this thought is great and all, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Making money is not as easy as it sounds and should never be the sole reason for doing something. When it is, you’re doomed either to failure or to becoming a heartless robot. Do it because you love it and let monetary gain be secondary in your reasoning.
Even once the concept of making money enters the picture you’re still just a writer. Writing needs a lot of things attached to it before Author enters the picture and a lot more things have to happen before Best-Selling Author is attached to your name. Luck for one thing. Don’t think I’m jaded or being negative about the process. I’m not. Luck is the fundamental element in any success whether it be in writing, or music or art. Why? Because talent and skill does not always equate to success. Most of the artists you know by name, Rembrandt and Van Gogh just to name two rarely made money from painting. They died poor and let’s face it more than a little crazy. Even fame isn’t monetary success. If fame and fortune are your sole reasons for writing, I feel sorry for you. That in no way means you won’t be famous one day. It just means I think you’ll be missing the emotional thrill of doing something that completes you on levels money and fame can’t begin to do. So the first thing you need to ask yourself is why are you doing this? Depending on the stability of your psyche in relation to your answer please continue on your chosen path.
So what does it take to become an author? I’m really not sure if I can answer that question. There are just too many variables in play to answer it. Again, I’m going with luck. Why? Surely, hard work and talent will get you where you’re going in your chosen profession. You’d think that, but I know way too many amazing writers who bowed out, not because of lack of talent, but because of lack of opportunity to get noticed. I’m not saying to fold up your laptop and quit before you even get started. Just do what you do because you love it and not for the reason of getting rich. I got sidetracked by gauging my success on sales and not readers reached. Trust me it’s not a backroad you want to go down.
Write because you love to write. Success is based on individual lives touched and not how often your checkbook is touched. The true value of being an Author is that. Over the past 10 years I have become richer not in cash earned but in lives earned. I’ve gained friends by meeting fellow writers and learning my craft from their influence, them picking me up, my failures, and from editors beating knowledge through my thick skull. I’ve become enriched by meeting fellow readers who have become family to my heart. They have guided me in both my writing and my personal life. Lastly, I have become a better man from succeeding in failing. Yeah, from failing. Because when you realize you’re not God’s gift to the world, you see the world as God’s gift to you. That world consists of His gifts to us, our talents, our family, and our friends. I, and a lot of my fellow authors, use those skills to bring joy to our friends and in the process we make more friends and for some blessed few we become family.
So, here’s to my fellow aspiring writers. May we one day become authors and call the world our family. Until then, let’s write like there’s no tomorrow, and read like the world is make believe. Me? I’ve been living in Middle Earth for so long, I have no clue what the real world even looks like.
Until next time, Happy Reading! And watch out for Orcs.